Zune's "Smart DJ" Attempting "The Brustkern Test"
Yeah yeah yeah, I’m one of the odd dudes who went with a Zune over an iPod. It’s been covered on here. But, today the Zune software updated to add a Smart DJ feature, looking to counter Apple’s much-hyped Genius engine.
It’s no secret I’m a fan of good dynamic playlists. It’s what kept me using Exaile and Listen! on Ubuntu before I bought the Zune, and it was sorely missed when I made the switch. And now it’s back. And, I can justify my Zune Pass further because it’ll let me toggle whether to include local only (traditional dynamic), or to shuffle what I have with recommendations from their online catalog (much more like Pandora, but without the feedback loop).
And, so far, it seems solid. I was worried. Their “Rock Picks For You” playlist seemed to have me confused with my assistant manager (I don’t even like Nickelback, I don’t need half my list to be them, darn it). Smart DJ is considerably better at it’s job. I am pleased.
I am also spent. It’s nighty-night for this Zed. More later.
So, I’ve finished my 14 day spin of Microsoft’s intriguing (and badly advertised) music subscription plan. Well, the lite version, anyway, since I didn’t get the 10 tracks to keep. Still, what I had was near infinite access to music, both at my computer and from the device (the bit that enticed me to begin with).
Here’s what I can say:
I figured initially, with the going rate for music downloads on Amazon what it is, I’d need to consume at least 18 albums a year before Zune would even begin to break even. I think I had downloaded more than that in the first 8 days. Whole albums, selected guilty pleasure tracks, you name it. and, beyond that, I could listen to entire songs on demand even without downloading, and all on the legal up-and-up. It was, in a word, addictive. It was downright addictive. I’m spoiled. There were too many moments in a mere 14 days where I went “man, I should’ve remembered to rip that… oh, wait.” It was brilliance.
Now, a year from now, when I’ve explored music to my little metal heart’s content, this story might change. But I can forsee it taking a year before MS’s little subscription plan wears on me. 120 tracks a year plus infinite sampling, it turns out, is just fine for how I approach music. Namely, I want to hear it all and want to keep rather little of it.
So, I just recently upgraded my PMP for the first time in half a decade (I went from a 30GB Zen Xtra to a 120GB Zune Original). I’m actually quite pleased (despite the main market being between devices from two companies I hold at arms length when it comes to liking), and I’m really pleased with the way Zune Originals supports artists with the surprisingly trendy and awesome ‘custom’ designs you can buy. I got an etching from Ippei Gyoubu. But that’s all secondary to what I want to get at here, and that’s my takes so far on the fairly hotly debated “Zune Pass”.