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All posts tagged "Marketplace"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Microsoft Job Posting Hints at New Zune Platforms

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 03:15 PM


"Microsoft has recently posted some interesting job listings that lend themselves to (unconfirmed but solid) speculation. Their acquisition of European mobile music provider Musiwave last year just deepens the mystery... Now, a web services development job listing proclaims "Zune Services is building an entertainment store for a wide range of Zune clients or 'tuners.' Today these tuners include the Windows PC client, the Zune web site and the Zune device; in the future there will be more. Each of these tuners access a set of rich web services implemented by Zune and soon by Musiwave as well." The combination of Musiwave and Zune suggests some sort of mobile Marketplace, whether it's through phones or simply over-the-air to Zunes. Microsoft did note at the time of their absorption of Musiwave that the European company would help them arrange a better ecosystem of products and devices. Could this mean Zune on Windows Mobile? Another listing asks for a user experience designer to focus on a few aspects of the Zune: device UI, Zune PC client, and then a surprise, Zune Xbox. There's no other information, but we think it'd be a pretty good idea to incorporate the Zune Marketplace into the successful Xbox environment. Imagine, Microsoft integration as far as the eye can see. This is, of course, rumor and conjecture, but those job listings are certainly eyebrow-raising indicators of what's to come from the big MS."

Is this the connected experience we've heard trumpeted since November 2006? I'd love to seamlessly access my music library from my computer, my Zune, Xbox and phone all through the Zune service, and I have a feeling that Microsoft is fully capable of doing this. Whether or not they will is entirely up-in-the-air, but it's good to see they're moving towards a better connected ecosystem.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Broadcasters Stepping Up for Buy From FM Feature

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 09:30 AM


"More than 450 radio stations belonging to Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Beasley, Bonneville, Citadel, Cox Radio, Emmis, Entercom, and Greater Media are now tagging their songs with RDS technology for Microsoft's Zune portable media player, and more stations will be coming on board soon. The 'Buy From FM' song tag is an encrypted digital code that identifies a specific song. The code is embedded in an analog FM broadcast, and when a listener 'tags' a song, it can be purchased and downloaded to a Zune immediately (if the user is in a WiFi hotspot) or queued for later purchase. The technology isn't Zune-specific, and other consumer electronics manufacturers may decide to offer the feature as well. 'Radio's decision to push the digital envelope doesn't mean that our analog broadcasts need to be left behind,' said Clear Channel Radio President/CEO John Hogan. 'Clear Channel Radio will have 450 stations live with RDS song tagging at launch. And we applaud Microsoft's leadership and shared commitment to making cutting-edge entertainment experiences available to the masses.' "

It's always nice to see broadcasters actually using their own standards, and even nicer when it benefits me, the consumer. Such is the case with this new push to increased RDS tagging on radio stations, especially now that the data is useful for more than just song identification on the go. As features on every Zune since day one, the wifi and radio have up to this point been only minimally useful by themselves, but with the 3.0 update it looks like Microsoft is finally integrating the two in a scenario that will help me discover music easier, and ultimately want to listen to the radio more.

But, as Pocket PC Thoughts' Paul Martin pointed out, many stations still do not have RDS for their signal, and a DJ wishing to play older or more esoteric material will probably not have the correct tags on the song. If you think managing your music library is difficult, I can only imagine what kind of effort it would take to tag 2-3,000 songs correctly. RDS tagging isn't Zune-specific, and this initiative will be useful in other applications such as in-car stereos and home theater setups, and will provide a leg-up against the iTunes/HD-Radio collaboration. I can't wait to get my hands on the 3.0 firmware come September 16!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Duran Duran Podcast Coming to Zune

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Media" @ 10:30 AM


Those Duran Duran fans out there (you know who you are) will be pleased to hear that your favorite not-quite-dead 80s pop band is launching a video podcast exclusively through Zune Marketplace. The series explores the making of Red Carpet Masacre and its first single, Falling Down. Additionally, episode six of the currently ten-part series features a Zune-exclusive interview with keyboardist Nick Rhodes about the original concept, how they got to working with Timbaland, and the creative process.

One thing I noticed about Duran Duran's Zune Social page was the inclusion of a tour description and dates. Up to this point I've only seen tour details on pages for On the Road artists, but I'd like to see it expanded to other currently touring artists who are in the Social database. It'd be cool to have the ability to put shows I'm attending or have recently seen on my Social page, and have the ability to get recommendations based on my music habbits. But maybe this is encroaching a little too much on the iLike scene...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tips Day 4: Get More Podcasts (Software/Device)

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM


Editor's Note: This is part of a series of tips on getting the most out of your Zune device, pass, software, and card. Check out the forums for more tips, or to submit your own.

By default the Zune software only downloads the three most recent episodes for each of your podcast. But for those of you who just can't get enough Diggnation, Ask a Ninja, or Best Week Ever, you can easily up the number using an easy-to-use yet hard-to-find settings page.

To change the default for every downloaded podcast, click Settings (in the upper-right corner), then choose the subhead Software, then Podcasts. Drag the slider to adjust the number kept, from just the most recent episode to all of the episodes in the series.

Courtesy GenerationZune.net

To change the number for individual podcasts (let's say you only want a couple of the most recent HomestarRunner, but you want to catch up on all of the Dub Session mixes), go to the Podcast section of your collection and select the podcast you want to change. Right-click either the thumbnail of the podcast or one of the titles and click Series Settings (or use the Series Settings button at the bottom of the rightmost column).

If you're new to a series and want to see what all the fuss is about, you can tell the software to prioritize the older episodes and play them before the newer ones.

Zune tips are running daily this week. Got a super tip you're just dying to share with the world? Hit the comments link or discuss in the Forums.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Marketplace Down on Monday, Updates Coming

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 03:00 PM


"On Monday, we’re taking down Zune Marketplace from 6:00pm PST for a few hours while we deploy the final code (woot!). During that time, you won’t be able to browse, purchase music, download music from ZMP, or access your account. Then on Tuesday, November 13, the new software, store, Zune Social, and firmware update will go live."

Only three days 'til all the goodies come pouring in. I can't wait.

I wonder if with this update the old marketplace will become inoperable, and they'll force users to upgrade to keep playing tracks. I imagine the new software won't sync with the old firmware, but I also know a significant number of users will want to wait until most problems that inevitably come with new technology are sorted out.

All reports are pointing to this being an early Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus for us all.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Album Art: Now In Glorious High-Res

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 12:35 AM


As Bill Wittress (Zuneguy) promised, it seems our album art is finally receiving an upgrade. Several Zunerama forum members have noticed that once-pixilated and fuzzy have been replaced with sharp, high-resolution album art scans. Poster MrJoe has also noticed that the "find album info" dialog has been updated and the "find info for all albums" command actually works correctly for once.

One weird thing I noticed about the new dialog is that if I click on the album art during the update, I'm taken to http://shopformusic.microsoft.com/, which seems pretty inconsistent with the Zune branding. I can only hope they fix/update this by the time the new software is released.

The albums appear to be getting their updates artist by artist, likely in time for the launch of Zune2.

EDIT: Clarified "update".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What If Zune Marketplace Were Accessible From Web, Phone

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Announcements" @ 11:00 PM


"New updates given by Microsoft will allow you to access Zune Marketplace from 4 main places : your Zune device, your computer (already done), on the web, and on your WinMo phone. Currently, the only place where you can get to Zune Marketplace (legally) is on your computer. With new update coming by firmware for the Zune device, update for WinMo 6, and the MSN Music site to get more of a refresh, you can connect to ZuneMarket from there.
Just sign-in with your Live Account, and you can do what you want with your music."

Currently, one of the only things keeping me from switching to the Marketplace from Napster and Rhapsody is the lack of an online component. Two months ago, this wouldn't have been an issue, but it has since become a big deal to me. The convenience of being able to stream from anywhere means I don't have to authorize another computer just to pull up my library or stream a song when at a friend's house or at work. And for you Windows Mobile users, this means you can now use your Marketplace songs on your phones.

This is great, and shows a real commitment on the part of Microsoft to fully integrate its services. The fact that they're revamping MSN Music to be the Zune arm is great but also a bit suspicious (as is the fact that the Zunerama article to which this blogger links is nonexistent, and the claim of offering Marketplace Anywhere). In any event, this is good news, no matter how you look at it.

UPDATE: MSFTandTheFuture has since clarified that this was just a what-if scenario. Apologies to anyone who got the wrong impression, and I'll work to be more vigilant in source-checking in the future.

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