Microsoft unwraps Zune site, makes changes to MSN music

Microsoft said it will start redirecting MSN Music customers to the new Zune site and introduced Zune.net with information about the service

Microsoft has unveiled a new website that describes features of the upcoming Zune music store and also revealed that MSN Music won't continue to sell digital songs.

The new site outlines details of the Zune player as well as the Zune marketplace, where customers can buy songs individually or subscribe to a monthly music download service.

The site already features a few bands and offers downloads of images and videos of Zune advertisements.

It also features accessories that will be available from third-party manufactures. A docking station will let users play music directly over speakers, a wireless remote will enable control from across the room while the Zune sits in a dock and cables will allow users to connect the Zune to their car stereos. Other accessories include leather cases and premium headphones.

Microsoft is pointing to the new Zune.net site from MSN Music, an online store that offers articles about artists as well as music sales. Now, the customer service page of the MSN Music store says that starting Nov. 14, the launch date for Zune, customers will notice that the current "buy" button near songs for sale will change to links that connect to Zune and to RealNetworks's Rhapsody service. As part of a previous legal settlement with rival Real, Microsoft has agreed to promote Real's music service.

The new Zune.net site joins two others that Microsoft has made available since revealing that it was developing the music player and store. Zune.com features a short animation and simply says that zune.com is coming. Comingzune.com used to feature short animations with songs but now redirects to a site that contains Zune artwork and animations.

In late September, Microsoft revealed pricing for the Zune player and said it would launch the player and music store Nov. 14. Since its introduction of Zune, Microsoft hasn't said much about what would happen to its existing MSN Music store or how the Zune store might affect its relationships with customers like MTV Networks, which have worked closely with Microsoft to launch their own music stores.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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