On the eve of Apple’s event tonight, Microsoft announced its all-new range of (US-only) Zune players, equipping these with the capacity to tag songs and buy music directly from FM radio built-into the player.
Also from September 16, Zune will offer WiFi access to the Zune Marketplace for song purchases and subscriptions. Zune is also expanding its device lineup with new 16GB and 120GB capacities as well as shiny new blue-on-silver and sleek all-black colour schemes.
The FM/song purchase link works as follows: a listener hears a song they like on the radio; they tag it; they can then track down the song from Microsoft’s music shop and purchase it, so long as they are on WiFi.
Buy from FM uses Radio Data System and RT+ data feeds within the FM broadcast frequencies that identify song and artist data and enable the Zune service to identify and deliver the track to the customer.
Zune owners can currently buy tunes one at a time, or pay $15 per month for a Zune Pass subscription, which gives access to every song in the catalogue.
“Digital music services really come alive when they help people find not only the music they know they like, but the music they didn’t know they would love,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of Global Marketing for Zune at Microsoft.
“With the combination of subscription, wireless access to millions of tracks, and powerful discovery features like personal recommendations and the ability to buy music from FM radio, Zune is taking the digital music experience to the next level.”
The new Zunes will be available in configurations and prices ranging from $249.99 for a 120GB model to $129.99 for a 4GB version.