Microsoft Corp. is giving an early holiday gift to people who pay for all-you-can-listen access to the Zune digital music store: 10 songs to keep each month, included in the $14.99 monthly subscription fee.
The decision may appeal to people who have been reluctant to test out the subscription model, preferring to own their music instead of rent it. Microsoft’s Zune Pass, RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody and others give users unlimited access to millions of songs in exchange for a monthly fee. But as soon as the user stops paying, the music stops playing unless he or she forks over extra money to buy each track.
With the new Zune Pass perk, subscribers can use the Zune desktop software as usual to buy individual songs, and the service keeps track of how many free ones remain for the month. In most cases, the song will come in the MP3 format, which can be freely copied to multiple devices and computers.