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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Subscription music comes of age

Andver Zune I've been using subscription music for about 4 years now and I'm pretty smitten. But I understand most people's reluctance to rent rather than buy. After all, we're an ownership society. But digital changes everything. Or should. For some reason, people have no problem renting television content, but their music, not so much.

My first experience with a subscription service was a streaming service from Rhapsody. I don't remember why I dropped their service, but I did. I believe it was because your collection was completely tied to a desktop computer as wifi and 3G were still mere concepts in most of our lives. Years later, I discovered Yahoo Music, and at about $11 a month, I was in love. I could transfer songs to my Windows Mobile phone and if I wanted to buy a track or collection to burn to CD and own forever, since I was a subscriber, I got a significant discount--20%. Life was good. And harmonious.

That is, until a couple months ago, when Yahoo discontinued their service. So it was on to Napster.

Two months of Napster bliss later I was given a Zune so I switched to the Zune Marketplace.

The Zune marketplace is the best software experience so far. That said, I came on at the night time. Here's what's happened since I became a member:

  • Software on both Zune and. PC has been updated twice, adding new music discovery features, games, etc.
  • A new, nifty screen saver was added to their player that presents pictures of the artist along with scrolling trivia about the performer
  • New feature allows you to push the squircle button when listening to a song on the Zune's FM radio to automatically download it from the store the next time you log on to the Zune Marketplace
  • Galaga clone
  • Channels, like Top 40 hits, that refresh and redownload to your device on a weekly basis
  • The ability to stream music from the Marketplace to your Zune in wifi-hotspot Locations
  • Free use of McDonald's hotspots

Now here's the biggie, the game-changer par excellence.

  • 10 free MP3 per month. That's a $10 value, so now the subscription service is really about $5 a month. It goes live tonight, so I'm gonna snag my November songs: Ani DiFranco's Red Letter Year!

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About Me

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.