Microsoft has announced that it is decreasing the number of licensed Zune Music Pass devices for customers Europe. The announcement was made in an email to European subscribers on Tuesday, informing them of the change.
The current Zune Music Pass offering allows customers to license up to three PCs and three mobile devices–be it Zune or Windows Phone–for all-you-can-eat music streaming. But starting September 13, 2011, subscribers will only be allowed to license one PC and a combination of any three PCs or devices.
Microsoft has yet to provide an official reason for this change, but we suspect that it’s due to deals with music labels. The Zune Music Pass has been around for almost five years in the US, but it is less than a year old in Europe. Music deals vary from country to country, so it’s possible that the European publishers have demanded that Microsoft decrease the number of licensed devices.
This move is certainly more limiting, but the Zune Music Pass was originally intended for a single user or, unofficially, a family. Restricting the streaming collection to a single PC (or more, if you feel like sacrificing some of your devices) should help keep the subscription for users in the same household.
It should also be noted that Zune on Xbox 360 and Zune.net do not figure into this device count, and licensed Windows Phone and Zune devices work great for streaming on the go. This means users can continue to maintain their music collection on a single PC and access the Zune Music Pass catalog wherever they are.
Thankfully, video streaming for movies and TV shows is not affected by this change. This news comes by way of Matt Faraca, a member of the Zune Video Marketplace team. As a result, customers will still be able to access their streaming video library on multiple PCs and the Xbox 360.
Subscribers have one week to decide whether or not they are alright with the change. Those that aren’t are free to cancel their subscription at any time. But while this change might annoy some subscribers–especially households whose family members maintain separate collections–we think it’ll work out in the long run.