Zunerama has a great FAQ on Zune's new subscription model of Zune Pass + 10 free songs to keep per month. Inspired by the FAQ and in part by an email conversation with some friends (thanks Mike), I thought I would contribute a few thoughts by walking myself (and by proxy you) through the process of using these new credits on two albums in the Zune Marketplace and seeing where we end up.
With a DRM-Free Album
Lets start with the album "Christmas on Mars," by The Flaming Lips. I have heard of the band but I have never listened to them.
We can tell this album is DRM free by noting the 'MP3' symbol next to the 'Buy' button. This is what it will look like to an individual without Zune Pass. Now, lets sign into an account that has Zune pass.
See how all the 'Buy' links change to 'Download?' That means this album is available through Zune Pass. Note how the 'MP3' symbol is now preceded by "Purchase Available." Now, what happens when we click one of the download buttons?
There is a dialog box telling us our options. I'll choose the download option, and that should result in me getting a DRM'd WMA file.
Indeed, such is the case. I now have a WMA file @ 192kbps that expires on 12/17/2008.
You'll see that the track appears under my subscription history. Now, lets get that same track via the credit option.
Right clicking on the first track and selecting the 'Buy' option while that track is already in my collection brings up this screen with a note about how purchasing this song will go toward my 10 song credit limit. I'm sure that clicking the buy button at this point will indeed purchase the track, just like a Zune Freebie. But what if I hadn't first added the track via Zune Pass? Lets go back to that screen by deleting the track to see what happens that way.
The one step you missed was me removing the track from my collection and choosing to 'delete the file and remove from my collection.' Remembering the 'Song Credit Available' window three pictures above, I clicked 'Use Credit' instead of 'Download.' Now I own 'Once Beyond Hopelessness,' I hope I like the track.
Noting the file location and DRM status, I now own a 256kbps Mp3 track.
You'll see the purchased song appears under my purchase history along with two other tracks my brother purchased.
A quick file comparison.
Part 2 will include a walk through with a DRM'ed album.