Microsoft unveils Zune site, prepares to downgrade MSN Music

The Zune revolution is coming.

Microsoft is gearing up for the Zune’s launch in 2 weeks by unveiling a new website the previews the upcoming Zune music store. The company has also said that MSN Music will no longer sell tracks after the Zune store has launched.

The official Zune website is not Zune.com, although Microsoft has some cartoons of the Zune up on there, but Zune.net. It already has featured bands and offers downloads of images and videos of the Zune, as well as showcasing accessories for the player.

MSN Music is starting to point toward Zune.net, and by 14 November, the Zune’s launch, the buy button will be replaced by links to Zune.net and to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service.

Zune.net also outlines Microsoft Points, “the coin for the Zune Marketplace realm”. Users buy points to deposit into an account that works across Zune Marketplace and Xbox Live Marketplace. After users have aggregated points, they can browse and buy songs or albums for around 79 Microsoft Points per track, or around $0.99.

The site says that once you’ve bought a track or album “you own it outright. That’s right. You can sync it to your Zune, rip it to a CD, or even send it to a friend’s Zune so they can see if they like it”. Does this mean they’ll be DRM-free MP3s? Not likely.

Also on offer for Zunists is a Zune Pass that costs $14.99 and allows you unlimited downloads of tracks for rent.