I have derided the Zune Pass in the past as a DRM trap and simply not the way that I wish to consume music. However, I have been enjoying the recent 2 week free promotion and I must say it really encourages you to discover and download a metric tonne of music for one low price ($14.99). I have probably doubled my music collection in less than a week.

I am not ready to purchase the Zune Pass on a monthly basis but I think everyone who has a Zune should consider getting a pass once a year, sampling all the music you can, and then purchasing the MP3 equivalent at the Zune Market Place, Walmart or my personal favorite Napster.

Ultimately renting music with the Zune Pass is not sustainable but it can provide you with a much needed view into music you have not heard before. As if to remind me of the failings of DRM I received an email for Walmart Music as follows:

...Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer...

Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from Walmart.com. If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.

MSN music was the first major DRM bastion to fall now Walmart. Hopefully we shall see a day when we worry about DRM no more.

 

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