You don’t need the Zune player to enjoy the benefits of the PC software. Below, we’ll discuss some of its more prominent features, and give you another couple of reasons to diss iTunes.
Zune is the name of Microsoft’s music technologies – recently diverging into the fields of other popular media as well, like online video. It started with the launch of ‘the Zune’, Microsoft’s iPod rival that suffered from an undeserved marketing failure. But now, Zune is present on a multitude of different systems, ranging from the Zune HD and mobile phones to your Xbox 360.
The Zune player is also available for your Windows PC but as of yet, Mac OS X and Linux are left out. Microsoft’s iTunes counterpart, this application manages your Zune device, as well as your local music libraries. MakeUseOf covered Zune 3.0, the old version, with a laudatory review. Much has changed since, with the big upgrade to Zune 4.0.
The 4.0 version launched in September last year, together with the Zune HD device. It got a complete interface and design overhaul – although touches of its predecessor are left present. Once again, you can expect a visually stunning and innovative interface, even if it’s still much of a memory hogging application.
It also integrates better with your other devices, such as the Xbox 360. Notable is the newfound importance of the cloud. Especially in the United States, the Marketplace – where you can buy music and video – is not to be missed. The new ‘Social’ tab allows you to interact with other audiophiles, and accentuate your musical identity; it’s Zune’s new social network for music fans.
The music player itself highly resembles its predecessor. The beauty of it relights the hunger for innovation in our hearts – and perhaps confirms that it’s time to move to a new standard interface for media players.
Zune comes packed with a number of interesting features for the everyday music lover. There is Mixview, which shows a composition of connections to other artists and albums. Smart DJ puts this to use, by generating playlists of songs that are somehow related to a single artist, album, or song. The web streamer allows you to play your music on any device with an internet browser; even the Zune-ignored Mac and Linux systems.
Premium: Marketplace & Zune Pass
By all means, the Zune is a free music player. But the Marketplace and Zune Pass are two optional premium features that might enrich that experience. Sadly, these are only available for users in the United States and Puerto Rico.
The marketplace requires little to no explanation. It’s a place where you can buy the latest music and video. You’ll also find music videos, top 100 lists, channels and playlists.
More interesting is the Zune Pass – directly related to the Zune Marketplace. For a monthly subscription fee of $14.99, you can download as many songs as you want – plus 10 songs ‘to keep’, each month. The Zune Pass was already available before the 4.0 update, but hasn’t lost its appeal.
If You Can’t Download The Application…
This link should take you to a page where you can download the Zune media manager. However, you might be redirected to a website of your own locale. Not all of these websites offer this download.
If you encounter this problem, scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the current region/language. Click International, and select United States on the next page. You should be able to find the download there, for sure. Note that although not all countries can access the market place, they can use the software as a regular media management application.
What do you think of the Zune player software? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!