Zune Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Be sure to register in our forums! Share your opinions, help others, and enter our contests.

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "itunes"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's Your Digital Convenience Price Threshold?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:00 AM

In the tug of war between atoms and bits, how much does it take to sway you one way or another? Digital download or buying DVDs - which way do you roll? I bought the first episode of "Breaking Bad" on iTunes a few weeks ago, watched it yesterday, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Since I don't currently have an active Zip.ca account (it's a DVD rental service) I'd be looking at buying Breaking Bad season one. How do the numbers work out? Read more...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Do iTunes Alternatives Stack Up?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:30 PM


"Is iTunes still the most expensive digital music service? Which iTunes alternative offers the best deal for music lovers? Are digital albums a better deal than CDs? And just how much are you overpaying if you buy by the track instead of by the album? Those are the questions I set out to answer in this, the third installment of my "iTunes alternatives" series. My previous installments were in April 2009 and April 2010, and I had planned to wait until April of next year to revisit this turf. But so much has happened in the digital music space this year that I just couldn't wait. And there will probably be a whole new set of changes to look at by next April anyway."

Image Credit

Wondering how the likes of Amazon, Napster, Zune, and others stack up against iTunes in terms of pricing, availability, and other factors? Check out Ed Bott's article to find out more. Personally, I buy my MP3s from Amazon.com or HMV Digtial (in Canada) depending on who has the lower price. You?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Music Organization: Which Application Wins?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 12:30 PM


MaximumPC has done an interesting side by side comparison of the big three options out there for music organization on your home PC. To be honest, most people will have a hard time really making much of a selection based on the software and are far more likely to be choosing based on what their device of choice is. In the case of the iPod and Zune, we’re mostly tied to using the software designed for it.

But if you don’t like your options with your current software solution, it’s certainly not impossible to use a different program to manage your media and a different one to load your player. The three that MaximumPC looks at are iTunes (of course), Zune, and Songbird. Read more...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Switching to Zune? Here's What You Need to Know

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 01:00 AM


"The Microsoft Zune HD is a beautiful device and truly one of the best alternatives to the iPod we've had the pleasure to use. But if you're really thinking about hanging up your iPod and going Zune, you'll need to think about how to take your iTunes library with you."

Feeling the need to break free from iPod/iTunes but don't quite know how? CNet's MP3 Editor Donald Bell has a great overview video of some simple steps to move your library, playlists, and content to Zune without a whole lot of third-party software. If someone you know is considering the switch, this might be a nice thing to pass along.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reactions of a Zune Fan to the September 2009 iPod Announcements

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 12:33 PM

Because I'm sitting here watching the superb gdgt coverage of the Apple iPod event, I figured I might as well multi-task and jot down some point form reactions and thoughts on what I'm reading. It's important to understand what "the other guys" are up to - that's the main reason why I bought an iPod Touch earlier this year; I wanted to understand how the App Store worked, to see how good the browser was, and to get experience using the on-screen keyboard. Here are my reactions to today's Apple event, in chronological order:

  • Good to hear Steve Jobs is healthy - organ donation is so important. I've signed my organs away if something happens to me, and you should too. If you're dead, they won't do you any more good, so why not share?
  • 1.8 billion applications downloaded - that's a huge, impressive number. Apps matter. Microsoft has always said that software matters, but they've historically done a poor job of showing that on Windows Mobile and the Zune. They're finally getting rolling with a Windows Mobile app store, but apps on the Zune are still a bit of a question mark. Sure, we've had a couple games since the last generation units, but no cohesive plan on Microsoft's part to roll out a Zune games store, or to sync up with what the Xbox guys are doing.
  • iTunes is in 23 countries. The Zune Marketplace is in one. Microsoft's US-centric approach with the Zune is maddening...I thought there was some light at the end of the tunnel when they launched the Zune in Canada last year, but we never got the Zune Marketplace here, and now the devices being sold here are being killed off. "Disaster" is a good word for how well the Zune launch went in Canada. Between the Zune HD being US-only at launch, and all of the IP-based geographic blocking madness that the Zune software and Web site does, it's like the Zune team is doing everything they can to alienate everyone in the world outside the US. More after the break. Read more...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Convert iTunes Playlists for Zune

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 11:30 AM


"There, that wasn’t too hard, was it? Lastly, it’s important to remember that this only works if the iTunes library and the Zune library in question are drawing from the same media files! That means that you should have the Zune jukebox software set to monitor the iTunes music folder that you are drawing from, so that the same files are referenced in both programs’ libraries. This little hack worked well for me, and allowed me to load my Zune with playlists created in iTunes, without having to try and use the gimped Zune rating system and autoplaylists to do so."

Are you not a fan of the playlists in the Zune software? I’ve never had an issue myself but I know that plenty of people out there don’t like the playlists that Microsoft has given us. Jake Billo’s Weblog has a convenient little program (written by Jon Fritz) that will allow you to copy your iTunes playlists into your Zune software. I don’t use iTunes but if you have it and want to try it out, let us know how it works!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Apple to Trump Zune Pass?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:00 AM


“Is Apple ready to jump on the music subscription bandwagon? It seems out of character, since they won’t (at least so far) even go so far as to consider tiered pricing, but the reports are there. More to the point: does it make sense for Apple and the music industry?” - Michael Santo, RealTechNews.com

Whenever someone has ever asked me why I don’t have an iPod, I’ve always been very truthful in my answer. I would have had an iPod about three years ago if it wasn’t for the fact that I own almost no music. At that time, before the Zune, I was on board Plays For Sure and a Yahoo music subscription. That reasoning has held for a while now. Usually, the advice I’m given is to just steal the music. I am firmly against that. And so, when Microsoft offered the Zune, I jumped on it. I’m glad I wasn’t locked into the iPod ecosystem at that point because, music subscription aside, I think the Zune is a superior device. Not heads and shoulders above but it is likely to be my music player of choice for some time.

If this rumor is true and Apple is trying to come out with their own subscription model then Microsoft will lose one of its biggest edges. I think it’s almost essential that Apple comes out with subscription. Subscription is the future of content and despite Apple’s posturing, I’m sure it knows it. The plan that Apple proposes isn’t as good as what I currently can get with Zune but it does have a lot of merits. The premium on the player would pay itself off after just a few months for the end user. I can’t figure out how Apple would make any money on it that way but I’ll leave that in their hands.

Personally I’d like to see it happen so that all the people on iPods will finally come to understand what a music subscription is. I’m not sure if Apple’s business model is workable but if it is then the bar for Zune 3G will be that much higher!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Zune Podcast Listener Market Share Exploding!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Zune Talk" @ 01:00 PM


"In the first two weeks of 2008 the number of people consuming my personal podcast with the Zune is WAY up. Over all my show download numbers are up about 15%. This is the largest growth my show has seen in a very long time. What this proves is that when you put Podcast front and center in the Zune Interface like the Zune team has, and make it a integral part of the Zune MarketPlace people are bound to check podcast out. Where Apple has largely failed in iTunes is that they have made podcast hard to find and a buried feature within the iTunes Interface. Today it is nearly impossible to find content that is fresh, the iTunes podcast interface is a wasteland of thousands of podfaded shows and huge numbers of single podcast episodes put up by network marketerís."

(Sorry about the tiny image, I couldn't find anything bigger!)

Over at RawVoice, there is an incredibly interesting article up about recent podcasting trends and the Zune. In this instance users of the Zune and Zune Marketplace software make up 21.3% of their listeners! This might not seem like a lot, but take iTunes for instance, whose user base makes up only 38.7% of their listeners. Now seeing how the new Zune software and hardware has only been on the streets for a few months now, compared to the many years iTunes has been around, it appears that Apple might have to start taking the "little media player that could" a bit more seriously. Who knows, old Stevie might just take a look at this and declare that all of the Zune Marketplace users have joined good old Robbie Bach in a round a drinks, since you know, being a drunk is the only reason why anyone would want a Zune. Read more...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Microsoft Looking to Hire for Podcasting Management?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 03:41 PM


I was reading through some of the job postings that I mentioned earlier, and I read a description for a Program Manager position that caught my eye:

"Join us in a multi-year pan-media effort to develop the best metadata repository and ingestion system in the world. Merge disparate legacy pipelines and repositories into a single system that will provide an enormous catalog of content and be the foundation that expands the boundaries of accessible entertainment. We are seeking a talented and highly motivated program manager to help us deliver systems to take in data feeds from a variety of sources, merge their disparate schemas and produce a comprehensive catalog of assets. You will work with many groups at Microsoft as well as outside the company. The ideal candidate will have significant experience with large scale database systems. You will have deep knowledge of SQL, database design, and XML technologies. A passion for Music and Video is also important."

Metadata repository and ingestion system? <puts on marketing secret decoder ring> Translation: that means an online directory with user-submitted content. Take in data feeds from a variety of sources, merge their disparate schemas and produce a comprehensive catalog of assets? Translation: accept XML/RSS feeds in various formats (RSS, Atom, etc.), more than likely containing video and audio content.

Now here's the bad news: if Microsoft has just started hiring for this position recently (January 19th) then it may be quite a wait until there's a comprehensive Podcasting directory like iTunes offers. I sure hope I'm wrong about this!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Universal Could Take a Bite Out of Apple

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 06:00 AM


"Other recording companies have yet to follow Universal's hard-line lead, particularly in suing online video and social networking sites. They appear happy to let Morris carry the fight through lawsuits and other measures. In his tussle with YouTube, Morris called the site a hub for pirated music videos and negotiated a licensing deal that landed Universal and other labels small stakes in the company just before it was acquired by Google for $1.76 billion US last year. Morris has already suggested, albeit guardedly, that his next target will be iPod-maker and No. 1 online music retailer Apple Inc. With Apple's licensing deal to sell Universal music on iTunes set to expire in May, Morris said, "there might be other ways to get paid." Last fall, Morris threatened not to license Universal music to Microsoft just days before it was scheduled to launch its own online music store and its Zune digital music player. In response, the software company coughed up a royalty of just over a dollar for every Zune sold and paid music fees."

Whether you like it or not (chances are, you don't), Universal is on a mission to milk everything for what it's worth. Zune, of course, fell victim to the label's strong-arm tactics late last year, and come May, the iPod could be next. And beyond? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Apple Under Fire for iPod - iTunes Link. Is Zune Next?

Posted by Aaron Roma in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 AM


"Apple Computer Inc. said Friday it is facing several federal lawsuits, including one alleging the company created an illegal monopoly by tying iTunes music and video sales to its market-leading iPod portable players. The case, filed July 21, is over Apple's use of a copy-protection system that generally prevents iTunes music and video from playing on rival players."

Apple is apparently being sued because of iTunes in ability to synchronize with rival devices. Obviously, since Zune takes a similar approach, this suite could mean future trouble for Microsoft. Personally though, I think this lawsuit is a bunch of hog-wash. There seem to be plenty of viable alternatives to iTunes out there, even if users choose not to use them. Apple shouldn't be penalized for producing a good product that has drawn users to it. What are your thoughts on this lawsuit and any implications it may have on Zune?

Tags: itunes, lawsuit

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zune Marketplace Details Announced

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Media" @ 11:36 AM

There's not much to go on here, but the first official details about Zune Marketplace have emerged: the all-you-can-eat subscription cost will be $14.99 USD per month, and the service will contain "millions" of songs. Individual songs will cost 79 Microsoft Points, which work out to 99 cents USD. And that's it for the official information.

Let's unpack that a little - first, the pricing at $14.99 USD. That's the same as Napster with a NapsterToGo subscription, which is what is required for playback on devices. It's 50% more expensive than the Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go offering at $9.99 USD per month. Microsoft's pricing then would seem to be hardly market-leading, and I firmly believe market-leading is where they need to position themselves to make serious in-roads on the already established players. If I can get unlimited music on my Creative Zen Vision:M for $9.99 USD a month from Yahoo!, will the WiFi goodies on the Zune be enough to justify the $60 more a year? I would have much preferred Microsoft to position their service with more aggressive pricing - $9.99 USD per month has a nice ring to it. We can always hope that the $14.99 USD pricing is for monthly payments, and a yearly payment would cut the price back.

The issue may be moot however, as the Zune Marketplace is going to be limited to the United States only at launch. I held out slim hope that there'd be a footnote someplace that said "Oh yeah, Canada too", but a Microsoft source confirmed for me that it was limited to the USA. This is going to be hugely frustrating, although it's not unexpected. Regardless of where Microsoft launches the Zune hardware, people from outside the USA will get their hands on the hardware. They won't be able to use the device to it's full potential though without access to the Zune Marketplace. This issue is made more glaring by the fact that the Zune will not work with any other online music services. The "Zune Experience" might be easier than other services, but the question is how quickly will Microsoft be launching the Zune in other countries? MSN Music still isn't available in Canada, though they did launch in seven other international markets (Australia, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom). Will the Zune launch in more countries, and faster? I sincerely hope so.

A word about track pricing: 79 Microsoft points converts to 99 cents USD, which is standard for the market. I hope that pricing will be different when the Zune launches in other markets: 79 points is $1.26 Canadian, which is 27% more expensive than the 99 cents CAN iTunes users in Canada pay. Interestingly enough, Darius (who's in Australia) tells me that the $1.30 Australian that 79 points converts to is less expensive than iTunes in Australia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in international markets.

There are still many unknowns: what about Zune Marketplace on multiple PCs? One would hope that, at minimum, they'd match Napster's three-PC offering, though as someone with six regularly-used PCs in his home, I'd love to see a more aggressive offering. What about multiple Zunes on one Marketplace account? Questions, questions.

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Sponsored links