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November 20, 2008

Filed under: music»business

Zune In

About three months ago, I bought a Zune. I wanted a way to find new music without buying a ton of CDs--and lately I've started to feel less comfortable with the ecological footprint from physical distribution, anyway. Of all the subscription services, Zune seemed to have the best deal. And while it's annoying that song burning is disabled, so far it's been a pretty good value for the money. I've been trying out all kinds of bands, new and old, and enabled my work computer as well for a kind of suped-up Internet radio. The hardware's not bad, either.

Today Microsoft turned on a feature that gives subscribers 10 free tracks each month from the big labels, including the large portions of the store in DRM-free MP3 format. As far as I'm aware, that basically makes it the best deal available for digital music on Windows, even if you don't own a Zune (the subscription tracks can still be played through WMA-capable apps, like Windows Media Player, if you don't care for the Zune application). It's got the advantages of an unlimited subscription, plus an album or so to keep each month. I'd still probably recommend Amazon's MP3 store for straight purchases, but if you're trying to branch out in your listening habits, you could do worse with $15 every month.

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