Microsoft turns on Zune Pass in several new countries, likely in preparation for Xbox Music’s launch

Microsoft turns on Zune Pass in several new countries, likely in preparation for Xbox Music’s launch ...

Zune is dead, long live Xbox Music, which is Zune, but in a new suit.

The ‘Music’ app for Windows 8 is set to receive an update in the coming few weeks, and the Xbox Music service is widely expected to be set for release either on October 26th – the date of Windows 8 general availability – or earlier. It’s go time for Microsoft’s new music service.

That in mind it is humorous that Zune Pass, the soon to be defunct subscription music service that Xbox Music is photocopying and renaming, is popping up in new markets. Two quotes from the excellent and vigilant WMPowerUser lay bare what is afoot:

It sometimes seems Microsoft’s divisions are working at different speeds.  WinPhoneBrasil reports that on the even of the release of the Xbox Music Service the Zune Music Pass has arrived in Brasil. [TNW: Also came to Austria] [Source]

We are now getting reports that is has also popped up in Germany today, with “unlimited music” even being advertised on their website. [Source]

Zune Pass in new markets moments before the Zune brand is set to be removed from life support, wrapped in newspaper, and dropped into the deadpool bucket next to Kin and BOB? Odd.

Still, it’s not too difficult to guess what is afoot here. If I was to wave my diving rod, I would posit that Microsoft is breaking ground in markets that it intends to bring Xbox Music to in short order. However, it can’t toss up a new Xbox Music site as it prepares, as that would lead to a media cycle that it couldn’t control. Thus, instead, put up dummy Zune content that most won’t care a half ass about.

If this had happened in a single country, TNW would call fluke. However, the number of new países makes this feel more systemic and less accidental. We’ll know more in the next few weeks.

Top Image Credit: Robert Nelson

Read next: Warning: This fake antivirus matches its GUI with Windows 7, Vista, or XP to take your money

Here's some more distraction