Zune licensing for DRM protected music ends soon, but you can upgrade to MP3

If you bought DRM-protected music from Microsoft’s deprecated Zune music service more than four years ago, you won't be able to play those tracks on your devices starting early next year. Microsoft is currently sending emails to Zune customers to warn them that starting March 12, 2017, the company will "no longer be issuing licenses to WMA-protected (DRM) tracks purchased prior to 2012."

Before this transition happens, Microsoft will allow all previous Zune customer to re-download their previously purchased tracks in DRM-free mp3 versions. There are two ways to proceed:

  • From the Groove web app, go to your music collection and use the filters to access your purchased music prior to 2012.
  • On a Windows 10 device, open the Groove app, go to your music collection and use the filters in the same way to get to your purchased music.

Here is the full email:

As an original Zune customer, we appreciate you being a part of our music community from the start. As you know, we've continuously worked to evolve our music app and service, and with that evolution, some of our original licensing arrangements are expiring.

Our records show that you purchased music on Zune prior to 2012, so we're writing to let you know that as of March 12, 2017, we will no longer be issuing licenses to WMA-protected (DRM) tracks purchased prior to 2012. If you have not already obtained licenses for outstanding purchased DRM tracks, you will be unable to play WMA DRM files locally after March 11, 2017.

Act fast - download your tracks as MP3s
. We want to make it as easy as possible to access the music you bought before our March transition, so at no additional charge, we're allowing you to download MP3 versions of your purchased songs - either within the Windows 10 Groove Music app, or at music.microsoft.com. We strongly recommend that you convert any DRM music you've purchased from Zune into MP3 format so that you may continue to play it wherever you like. You may occasionally find a track that's no longer in our catalog. For the workaround, visit our support page - it has all the answers for keeping you and your music together for good.

If you used to buy a lot of music from Zune back in the day, re-downloading all those tracks in DRM-free versions may take some time but we invite you to do it as soon as possible.

Note that when you download your Purchased Music, you'll be able to get MP3 versions of any and all music you've purchased via Zune or Xbox Music or Groove Music, which you've been able to do for some time. The new twist here is that pre-Zune 2012 purchase licenses won't be supported or updated, so you'll have to download them to be able to continue to enjoy them after next March.

Music purchased after 2012 in .wma format will continue to play as long as you're logged in to your Microsoft account.

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