Microsoft finally shows why the Zune stands out against the iPod

Microsoft finally shows why the Zune stands out against the iPod

Summary: I've written a few times about the Microsoft Zune and why I think the subscription model is a better value for all of us who have small personal music collections. When Microsoft changed their subscription policy and started giving you 10 free tunes a month as part of your $15 monthly fee it became a no-brainer to sign up for the Zune Pass and start to create or add to your personal music collection. Andrew posted on the new Zune ads that pit the Zune Pass against iTunes and clearly shows the significant price advantage of the Zune Pass.


I've written a few times about the Microsoft Zune and why I think the subscription model is a better value for all of us who have small personal music collections. When Microsoft changed their subscription policy and started giving you 10 free tunes a month as part of your $15 monthly fee it became a no-brainer to sign up for the Zune Pass and start to create or add to your personal music collection. Andrew posted on the new Zune ads that pit the Zune Pass against iTunes and clearly shows the significant price advantage of the Zune Pass.

While the $30,000 number may be a bit of an exaggeration, it is tough to argue that the Zune Pass is not a good deal. Assuming each song costs about $1, you are only paying $5 for the ability to listen to all the music you want each month while getting to buy and keep 10 songs to have with you forever. You could pay $10 on iTunes and get 10 songs, but that is all you could listen to for that price. I understand there are people with huge collections already, but for new digital music player fans and younger people just building up their collection, the Zune Pass is really the way to go.

I have also heard many iPod fans agreeing that the Zune desktop software is better than iTunes so what is the real advantage to the iPod and iTunes? The iPhone and iPod touch stand apart, but for dedicated music players I prefer the Zune devices over iPods because I find the navigation controls to be better and the hardware of the new Zune generation is solid.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility

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    what happens to my music collection when after 5 years I'm tired of paying & decide to stop the payments?

    Or I have to pay for the rest of my life to MS to enjoy "MY small personal music collections"?
    • umm... you keep it?

      You must not have read the article... but MS GIVES YOU 10 songs a month to KEEP FOREVER... plus you get unlimited use of the subscription service for $15 a month.

      Geez... it really isn't that hard to READ.

      The real shocker of this article is to see someone on ZDNET praising the Zune over anything Apple! When will Apple come out with a "ZuneKiller" ... :)
      • Zunekiller

        Now, that's funny! :D

        I do like the sound of their subscription model with the 10 songs you get to keep a month. I always thought that sounded cool, but it would depend on their catalog, though. I have a feeling it won't last though. I don't think Zune will last so why would they continue with the music service?

        I don't listen to much radio shtuff, so I am better served through emusic anyway. I get 90 songs per month, ALL to keep.
        Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • re: umm... you keep it?

        Do you really get to keep it? What about all those people who purchased music on Microsoft other music service, which disappeared and then disabled all of their songs? When the Zune DRM authentication server goes offline, is the same thing going to happen again?


        Also, I can't use a Zune on my Mac anyway, so it's sort of a moot point for me.
        • well, yeah

          It's a non-DRM mp3, so yeah, you do get to keep it. You can throw it on your other music player, another computer, burn it to CD, whatever.

          • re: coffeeshark

            Ah. I thought the Zune store was DRM'd wma files. I just read that they've started offering DRM-free songs, but is that for every label, or just a select few?
          • the subscription is

            The Zune Subscription music is DRM'd WMA, no doubt. There are lots of mp3s available, though not all the music. It seems like a lot of that choice depends on the label.

            For instance, for some reason I can't download any Def Leppard material on the Pass. At all. None. This is probably not a loss for most people, but I do like my 80's rock. It seems very random, though, so I'm not sure where the restriction comes from, and can even vary from album to album of the same artist.

            The pass isn't perfect for those reasons, but it's close.
          • Alas, some labels/artists aren't yet fully enlightened ...

            ... nor unencumbered from prior legal disputes.

            It's up to the labels/artists whether they permit their product (music/video) to be made available to online purchase/subscription/download, etc.

            Some artists/labels are still dealing with long-running legal disputes or unclear ownership claims that prevent some content from being made available online. For example, Ozzy-era Black Sabbath still isn't available via ZunePass despite all of Ozzy's own work being downloadable!

            Hopefully, as labels and artists come to realize that downloadable music is the only real future, more media will become available.

            I believe that ZunePass still has a 14-day free trial and can be used from your PC - no Zune device required! Give it a spin ... I think you'll find it addictive! :)
          • Same thing with AC/DC

            A lot of that is due to Artist's/Lebel's oreferences.

            Metallica only started allowing a la carte downloads last year.
          • There are a few DRM'd songs

            but most of the ones you purchase are available in MP3 format.

            Just try the software and see. Even if you don't subscribe to the Zune pass you can see what's available in MP3 format. You can also try the Zune pass free for 14 days.
      • At a cost of $30,000

        From the logic of the add anyway...
      • The idea of keeping music seems to really impress Zune users

        They're all touting the 10 songs they get to keep.

        On that point I think the difference is you have to pay $15 a month to
        get those 10 [i]free[/i] songs.If you stop paying for subscription, those
        10 free songs a month stop too. If you do decide to stop using Zune
        Marketplace one day, or MS pulls the plug on the service (very likely)
        It's legacy will be a small collection of MP3s purchased at $1.50 per

        Subscription service to the entire library is not a bad idea and is
        perfect for some people, especially those who constantly need to hear
        new music and rarely want to listen to a song again once they've
        heard it. I don't think it would suit people with large existing
        collections and aren't as interested in constantly downloading music
        all the time. I also believe there is kind of a saturation point, where
        once you have a large collection of songs, your rate of downloading
        music wanes and maybe weeks and months pass between downloads.
        At least for me.

        Like many people, when the downloadable MP3 first came out nearly a
        decade ago or so, I downloaded hundreds or songs, but then stopped
        doing it as much and now only rarely. So now I only pay for the
        specific new music i want, but I own all those hundreds of songs

        Again, I think there is nothing wrong with the Zune deal, but it is
        DEFINITELY not a great solution for many many people.
        • Your opinions and actions are not everyones reality

          I have over 500 Gig of music from my own CD collection and I still download new music through my Zune pass nearly every day!! I like to have the variety and I like to add to my collection with the 10 keepers.

          The additional benefit is that I have 1 Zune pass and can put songs on 3 Zune's. So I am filling up my 8 year old daughters Zune with all the iCarly and Hannah Montana that she wants, and my son loads his with all of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band tracks that he likes.

          I've had the Zune pass since it started and thought it was a great deal even before they started letting you keep 10 songs each month.

          So it's all personal preference. I've tried the iTunes store and simply can't stand the interface. I've got $100 of credit on it and can't seem to get over there to spend it so go figure.
          • Of course they aren't but probably closer than yours.

            You my friend are an amazing exception to my assertion.
            500 Gigs of Music from CDs alone? That's impressive. Not many people
            have over 10,000 CD's How long did it take to download that many?
            Wow, from my calculations if you downloaded 100 CDs a day, every day.
            it would take you 3 and a half months of download time, all day every
            day. I have to hand it to you. Thats dedication. Now assuming you
            didn't take 3 months off from work, you must have been using all your
            free time downloading your collection for years. And you still download
            new music every day. Hat's off fella.
            You are the Zune's target marketing demographic Congrats.

          • Millions of iTunes users agree *NM*

            no message
        • Reading comprehension is key to responding to blogs and posts...

          --> On that point I think the difference is you have to pay $15 a month to get those 10 free songs.If you stop paying for ubscription, those 10 free songs a month stop too. (SIC)

          Let me try to explain in little words:

          Zune Pass Subscription service is like renting music for the most part.

          The exception with Zune Pass Subscription is that you get to keep *some* of what you download each month. Without DRM.

          The ten tracks you can get as MP3 free each month, you can continue to use until the ability to play MP3 files disappears from the earth. So basically, forever, or until your great-grandchildren die because by then MP3 will be a mere curiosity.

          The ten tracks you get to keep as MP3s, those would be tracks that have special meaning to you. The rest of us don't care about what you listen to as we would download the ten free tracks that have special meaning to US.

          Make sense now? And doesn't it look like a much BETTER deal? The only catch is that for the rented tracks, if you wanted them on a portable music player it would have to be a Zune.

          The MP3s you get via the Zune service will work on any portable music player on the earth.

          Oh, and the Zune devices have a radio tuner as well (next version will have HD Radio according to Microsoft), so you're not "stuck" with just what's on your device... :)

          So stop reading what you WANT to read into the story and face the music: It's a GREAT deal for anyone who doesn't want to *own* a large collection but still have access to and USE a large collection.

      • Rollover????

        Do the 10 songs a month roll over?

        Do you have to choose 10 each month or lose them?

        I buy most of my music in the winter when I am stuck indoors. Spring, Summer, and Fall I am out and about and having fun, so I only add new music if I come across something I really like. A subscription just does not do much for me in that respect.

        I hear the music selection for the Zune store sucks and considering how massive a failure the Zune is, do you think it will be around much longer? Will Microsoft keep dumping cash into the money pit the Zune has become?

        All of these arguments make the idiotic assumption that the Zune pass will stay at $15.00 per month. Isn't that extremely naive and unrealistic? Seems like you would have to be incredibly stupid to think Microsoft would keep that pricing for any length of time. The track record for Microsoft makes that a no brainer.

        In iTunes I can make a playlist, insert a blank CD, click burn and I have a mix CD that is incredibly easy to make, and works in every CD player (a real music cd, not a mp3 cd). Does this Zune software do that?

        How do you keep track of what you own and what you are renting in this Zune store stuff?

        Can a Zune play a podcast? I watch podcast videos and listen to podcast radio shows all the time. I also watch video learning tutorials/how-to videos, and have taken classes where each class was podcasted. Podcasts are free and they are awesome.

        So this blog feels that a subscription service is what makes the Zune better than an iPod.

        Subscriptions suck, I?d rather buy what I want, when I want it.
        • ok fanboy

          Yes unfortunately you do have to spend the 10 credits in the same month you earn them. So since you have no time for new music 3 seasons out of the year then just subscribe during the winter months (or don't, I certainly won't miss you).

          I've had my Zune since it came out and the price has been a constant $14.95 the entire time. I'd call that a significant length of time. Wow, reality sure is making me naive.

          New hardware this year and the Zune service going mobile sure doesn't sound like failure.

          Why don't you download the Zune software, buy a couple songs and burn a CD to see how easy it is. I think you are being naive to think that you can't enjoy something other than iTunes.

          Yes Zune plays podcasts. It also has audio books through Audible, games and movies.

          It's one thing to not use the product when you have tried it and prefer something else. It's something completely different to be such a fanboy that you don't even give it a chance. It's your loss though.
          • You mean ZuneCasts?

            Ha ha... You call that guy a fanboy? Good one.
    • Not nonsense at all

      5 years at $15 and 10 songs YOU GET TO KEEP a month is $900 and 600 songs that are yours.
      or $1.50 a song, with the ability to play every song in the catalog for 5 years. Much better then anything Apple offers.

      My first month alone would have cost over $1000 on iTunes, and I would have been stuck with a lot of music I didn't like.
      The only nonsense is from fools like yourself