After what seems like forever, Microsoft's Zune music service is finally dead. The service was already a distant memory for the majority of fans, but a few chose to stick around despite the launch of Xbox Music, which is now called Groove Music.
The Zune service was formally discontinued on Sunday, Nov. 15. As it stands right now, the few users who are left can no longer stream or download content. Instead, Microsoft is attempting to encourage the die-hard fans of Zune to switch to Groove Music, the company's newest digital music service that has around 38 million songs.
"As of Nov. 15, 2015, Zune services will be retired. You will no longer be able to stream or download content to your device from the Zune music service," Microsoft officially announced.
The company also noted that it will convert existing Zune Music Pass subscriptions into Groove Music Pass subscriptions.
Those who own Zune music devices should not have much of a problem listening and transferring music as per usual. However, it is not possible to take advantage of Groove Music via these devices. In order to enjoy Groove Music, loyal Zune users must have a Groove-enabled device - such as Windows 10 devices, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android, Sonos - or access it via the Web.
Bear in mind that the Groove Music subscription service does not give users 10 free tracks per month as Zune did. That service is gone forever, and Microsoft did not specify if it would return to Groove Music in the short or long term. As for the differences between both music platforms, well, Groove Music allows for storing content on OneDrive where Zune did not. That's the main big difference, alongside the fact that Groove Music is available on other platforms outside of Microsoft's control.
The Zune music service is the last remnant of Microsoft's failed attempt to break iTunes and the iPod with its own media player. The Zune hardware media players have been discontinued since 2011 due to low sales, while Apple continued to command how consumers listen to music.
Microsoft is now having better success with Groove Music, especially since the service is available not only on Windows-related devices, but also on Android, iOS and the Web.
Folks who are coming from Zune and are contemplating whether or not to migrate to Groove Music should know that it costs $9.99 per month and $99.90 per year to download and stream unlimited music.