It has been years in the making, but the best sign yet that Australian’s will be getting Zune Music was revealed today. Long Zheng post on istartedsomething.com that an anonymous user (WP7 developer) had sent Zune music screenshots with Australian pricing. Since then, I have independently verified this.
It requires you to be a Windows Phone developer with Zune desktop software 4.8, which is only available to developers. Zune 4.8 will ship when Mango does later this year, but is also likely to include the ability for Australians to download music and podcasts.
To be honest, without these two items, its really hard to justify recommending WP7 to friends when the end-to-end solution is really broken. Sure you could still purchase music through iTunes, then import into Zune, but if your investing in a Microsoft solution, having iTunes installed is probably something your trying to avoid.
This brings me to the price of tracks, the news isn’t good. While this service is anything but officially announced and pricing may change, its currently priced at 129 Microsoft Points, or A$2.39. More than its biggest rival iTunes which costs A$2.19 for the same track. Zune’s biggest trump card has always been Zune Pass, the subscription music that’s affordable and hosts an impressive library. I seriously hope this comes to Australia, as someone who likes current music, its incredibly expensive to continue buying the latest tracks. Subscription makes a whole lot of sense.
Podcasts should have been available internationally from day one. There’s no music label deals to be done, so why Zune ever shipped without podcast support in Australia is a mystery. Zune 4.8 looks to remedy this. About time.
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