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December 12, 2006

Thank you Apple, Thank you Zune

Rather than rant about which is better, an iPod or a Zune, which I frankly got tired of hearing the same afternoon I got my Zune, let me say thank you to the iPod developers and to the Zune developers.  Long ago, before there were any MP3 players or digital music of any kind, I became passionate about all kinds of music.  This was even before 8-tracks.  I had a nice stereo and I would sit in front of it for hours with my guitar trying to imitate what I heard.


During college when I should have been listening to even more music, I was working to make a living and the music all but died for me.  I still played the guitar, but not so much.  Skip ahead to the iPod being released.  I didn’t get one on the day it was released like I did with the Zune, but I soon found my passion for music again.  It wasn’t just that I could take my music on trips or to the office that made the difference.  I think it was the simple idea of playlists.  Suddenly I could easily organize my music and play what I felt like listening to at any moment.  I ranked my music compulsively from the beginning and so I always had a playlist of “Most favorites, least played.”  Although I bought a few tracks from iTunes, I still mostly bought CDs and ripped them to the iPod.  In fact I bought a lot more CDs thanks to MP3s.  Most CDs were ripped and put on the shelf and never touched again.

Last month the Zune was released, and now the way I listen to music has changed radically again.  Music makes me really happy, and I’m listening to more of it and I’m discovering new types of music too.  I do like the Zune better than the iPod, but that’s not the point of this post or really the reason that I’m listening to new music.  Every Zune comes with a free 14 day free trial of Zune’s subscription music service - that's what changed everything.  I may never buy another CD.  I’ll warn you, if you try it you may get hooked just like I did.

Here’s how it works.  You install the Zune software on your computer and then sign up for the Zune Pass subscription service through the Zune Marketplace.  Then you can search by artist, song, genre, album or year.  There are also lots of “Top whatever” lists.  Most songs, but not all, can be downloaded and transferred to the Zune.  At $14.95 a month, it’s still going to be too expensive for a lot of people to justify, but I probably spend that much on CDs now and some of them are duds.  With the subscription service I can download as many albums or a track as I want with the only limit being the size of my hard drive.  If I don’t like an album, rather than being out the price of the CD, I just delete it.  There is one big catch.  If I ever stop paying the subscription fee, the tracks that I downloaded stop working.  You don’t have to use the subscription service though.  You can still buy tracks from the Zune Marketplace, just like iTunes, and purchased tracks never expire and can be burned to a CD.

Because Zune allows the tracks to be played on three different computers, I’m going to have access to all my music at work, at home and even in the FJ, and of course on my Zune.  Even the Xbox 360 can access my Zune library at home making it easy to connect to a media center.

So thank you iPod for bringing music back into my life, and thank you Zune for opening up a world of new music.

December 12, 2006 in Music | Permalink


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