by Travis Pope
last updated on July 1, 2010
first published on July 1, 2010
Just under nine months ago Microsoft kicked some tires, and released what was then a completely new Zune.net, allowing you to stream all of that great ZunePass music straight from the browser. Early last week Microsoft unceremoniously took Zune.net down again citing “maintenance” and I thought nothing of it. Let’s take a look at what they did.
I think Zune.net’s integration into Microsoft’s own Bing search engine is a fine place start. Depending on how complete the rollout is at the time you are reading this, whenever you search for musical artists, song names, or albums, you’ll now get a directly link to the corresponding song in Zune.net as well the option to play said song once directly from Bing. Better yet it’s free of charge to the user. It’s really smart way to boost to Microsoft’s efforts to get Zune out to everyone. What hasn’t received a lot of press is the new “Media Search” and “More From Bing” areas on every artist page.
Not Your Grandad’s Zune.net
Although the Bing Integration got the majority of the publicity, Zune.net itself got more of an update then just Bing integration. You can now use SmartDJ streaming on the site as well, bringing nearly every music discovery feature that the Zune Software has to web users. Of equal importance however is the new Zune.net MP3 Store. Users will now be able to grab songs without the Zune software with their credit card. Yes, absolutely no Microsoft Points involved.
I promised myself I wouldn’t over analyze the release and I won’t. Besides it’s really easy to get where this release positions Zune.net. In it current form it smacks around all other music services. Think with me for a second. Last.FM allows you to stream music based on what your tastes are, aka SmartDJ, Amazon allows you to purchase DRM free music online without the need for software, aka the Zune.net. Rhapsody allows. This release creates an online experience akin to combing, iTunes, Rhapsody, and Last.FM and manages to do it all better than those services do themselves. Usually I prefer to end reviews with a question so here it is, why the hell would I bother using three different sites when I can use one?