AfterDawn: Tech news

Apple and Microsoft music stores popular Christmas day destinations

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 30 Dec 2007 0:43 User comments (14)

Apple and Microsoft music stores popular Christmas day destinations Christmas day showed signs of being big for both Microsoft and Apple judging from the number of visitors to the websites for each company's moble media players. According to industry analysts at Hitwise, traffic to Microsoft's Zune website was up nearly 400% over Christamas Eve, while iTunes from Apple got six times as many hits as the Zune site, also up more than 300% from a day earlier.
Besides getting the lion's share of traffic among online music stores, iTunes als made it to number 9 on Hitwise's list of most visited etailers on Christmas day. They received a reported 0.068% of all online retail visits.

"Although the Nintendo Wii was the most-talked-about product during the holiday season, MP3 players were also very popular as Christmas gifts," Heather Dougherty, director of research at Hitwise, said in a prepared statement. "This year the Zune has captured interest from music listeners with a new line of redesigned players and discounted older models, while the popularity of iPods continued to drive traffic to the Apple Store and iTunes Web site."

Source: InformationWeek

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14 user comments

130.12.2007 9:13

I got my self a Wii.

230.12.2007 16:50

I did not get anything for myself for xmas i just felt i had everything i needed.

The new multimedia players and consoles are nothing special, they will be updated for sure in the new year.

330.12.2007 17:52

yep got the 80gb Zune, and i love it!!!

430.12.2007 22:03

p303 What do you love about it?

I bought my son one and the player is OK the software that you must install on your computer is horrific. I am wondering if I missed anything.

I prefer the iPod player to the Zune player and would recommend paying the extra money mostly to avoid having that software on my computer.

531.12.2007 1:26

I got a nano and I love it :) I prefer the nano over the zune 4/8gb and the Zune 80 over the ipod classic

631.12.2007 3:37

why does everyone hate the Zune software?? how easy does it get, drag and drop music in your library, sync it, DONE?? i dont get it.....

731.12.2007 8:28

Easy is not huge on my list. I would never buy a phone that dials the numbers for me. That is real easy but I like to pick who I am calling! I expect the software to do what I tell it to do. Zune software is too easy for that. It does what it wants, not what you want.

why does everyone hate the Zune software??

You are correct that the Zune software is hated by most of its users.

Let me count the ways...

I can’t remember how many hours it took to install the software. I think it took less than 10 minutes to install iTunes. It took for ever checking things on the internet etc. I have a cable modem I could have down loaded several CDs in the time it was doing what ever it was doing. I had to break for dinner etc so maybe it would have only taken 2 hrs to install if I was sitting at my computer. Instead it took about 5 hrs unattended.

When I first connected the Zune to the computer it took a half hr for it to recognize the Zune. What was that all about? I do not have a firewire USB connection but all other software recognizes the connection instantly. The Zune has some kind of shielding so the computer does not sense the connection. That probably kept the Zune software from finding it. Good job Zunies (the Zune software developement team)!!!

Zune assumes you have little or no tunes before you install the Zune. It took over a week for it to stop using most of the CPU time looking for tunes on my computer and our home network. After that, the computer still runs slow because you can’t turn off the hunt mode where is scans all the disks on all accessable computers for new tunes all the time. I probably have an abnormal amount of disk space and a slower computer than most. I have a 1.8 GHz PIII with several terabytes of disk space and we have 5 other computers on the net. It also is searching all the disks on the network. You really want to load the Zune software onto a solitary computer. All the other software I have used allows to turn off auto hunt and allows you to select locations to look for tunes. The Zunies could have copied that feature for anyone of the 50 other audio managers already on the market but I guess they wanted the Zune to be easier and SMARTER than iTunes. The Zunies probably figured you do not know where you keep your tunes. I know they are pretty good at hiding their data. I had to take the stupid software off my computer and put it on his computer and disconnect his computer from the network. It runs OK now but he can't use the network printers anymore and he does not have a printer in his room. That is the price he has to pay for having a Zune

Lets get back to the roast! My favorite is we built a sync list then pressed sync. The next day ( it always takes at least a day to do anything in Zuneland) we discovered the Zune software didn’t like our sync list and filled the Zune with random tunes my son hates. Oh the best thing is we have yet to figure out how to remove stuff off the Zune. Actually there is one better yet, we have yet to find ANYONE that has figured out how to get stuff off the Zune on the mp3 player forum! I have been in contact with people that have had the Zune for months and have not figured out how to remove tunes off the Zune.

Hopefully, you are smarter than we are. Have you figured how to remove tunes off your Zune?

I could go on and on. The real problem is I have used other software and other MP3 players and have gotten critical about what the software and player should do and should not do. I do not like iTunes but the Zune software makes iTunes look brilliant! The ipod can use third party software and the player is as smart as they come. It is worth $100 more because the player software is great and I really hate stupid software!

The Zune would be OK if your player is bigger than your library and you have a stand alone computer. Me, I like the little flash players and swap out music weekly because of the 10hrs+ battery life. I have 3 G of core music and swap out the last gig weekly. I would prefer an 8 gig but the 4 works well enough. The software I use allows you to swap out music effortlessly. The sync list actuall works and is fast for flash drives. The disk players sync much slower. The list can contain play lists or files. You just update the sync list before you connect. The software gives you a list of tunes to be deleted because they were not on the sync list. You can chose to keep or delete all or you can go to the tune level and pick the tunes to delete from the 'hit-list'. It sometimes does not always get all the tunes it should on the hit list on the first go-around but it gets most of them. By the second sync it will have gotten all of them. I would complain about that more vehemently about this if I found better syncing software. I guess I am very hard to please.

The Zune would be a best buy if the Zunies dropped the shelding on the Zune so your computer could recoginze the Zune. Then you could use third party software to manage it.

831.12.2007 9:25

Wow , thats pretty took me about 20 minutes to get my software installed, and first CD on my zune, i opened to software in one window, my music in another, drag and dropped the cd's i wanted, made sure cover art was on them, then connected my zune and hit sync. i think i put on over a gig of music and it synced in around 10 minutes tops.....if you want to take music off connect your ZUNE, remove the music you want off out of the Zune library....with almost every electronic "toy" theres bound to be a few flaws you dont like, but sh!t the Zune was easier than the iPod i thought..

931.12.2007 10:38

As a Zune user, i too dislike the software. It took forever to download and install. Didn't want to recognize the device (Zune)for several minutes. Then loading media.
I will say now that it's up and running, it's more friendly to use. The initial set up was not so pleasant.

As for the Zune (4g) itself; i love it. It's a good media player.

1031.12.2007 10:50

Well that answers one question. The Zune was obviously spying on my computer and possibly on my network sending back to Microsoft what I have on my computer. That would have taken a VERY long time. I am a programmer and have a terabyte of my own software on that computer.

A gig is near nothing in the tune world. I swap that out every week on my ipod in a minute of two after I select what to delete. That is why you had no problems.

Thanks for the tip. I will see what happens when he plugs the Zune into his own computer. The problem is there is too much clicking for a real library. Do you realize for a 30 G on his Zune that is 10,000 clicks! The other problem is that it is 'auto hunting' stuff so you would have to remove the tunes from the computer and disconnect it from the network or it will re-aquire the tunes unless you actually delete them off your hard disk.

I wouldn't use iTunes or a Microsoft product to rip CDs. I know I am ultra picky. If you have $25-30 a year to spare for an ultra good ripper, google PowerAmp. The $30 is the professional grade. The cost is you lease the encoders and other services they are not owned by PowerAmp. The software is like $20. Why spend all that money when you can rip for free? You can try the software out for a month for free and deside for yourself.

All the services are the best money can buy. I rip all my music using the LAME encoder VBR variable Bit Rate in the extream mode using the slow analysis. That mode was picked to be transparent to a trained human ear played on extream HiFi compaired to the source CD. Depending on the music complexity, you will get a 4 to a 20 times reduction over a wave file in which no human can hear the difference. VBR compresses as much as it can and still comply with the setting. The setting is the quality loss a human ear can detect. In the extream mode there is no loss. The result is maximum quality for the smallest file. There is a forum of Audio professionals and Audio extreamists. They rate the LAME encoder as the only encoder that does the VBR cleanly when I looked. It is the only encoder that is still being tweeked because of the yearly fee they can keep a programmer working on it.

Even in the cheaper version, PA can tell if your reader read the CD accuratly. This is handy if the CD is heavily scratched. You need to be connected to the web for that service. There is a database of all the tracks of most of the CDs ever made. Everytime a disk is ripped that information is added to the database. It can tell if your rip was accurate. If you get a bad track you can do some surface work then re-rip the bad track. You can also try to see if you can hear the difference usually you can't.

The CD tag info service that you pay $5 a year for is the most complete I have seen. I rarely have to enter tag info for less than 50 cents a month.

The software package is just extreamly good software. It allows you to convert non DRMed tunes from one format to another. Many players don't play m4a files that iTunes makes when it rips. That comes in REAL handy if you dump iTunes for better software. You can 'tell it' to convert all the m4as to mp3s on a disk. If you chose constant bit rate over VBR it is smart enough to maintain the same BR even if the M4As vary in BR. Even though the VBR will save you space it is not worth the effort if you were converting 100 g of tunage. That is about 30000 tunes to contend with.

Even though this may seem like over kill to you now, you will not need to re-do your library a year or two from now because you get pickier if you only add top quality tunes to your library now. I used to rip at 125 BR because I didn't know any better but after a while you know better.

Have fun!

1131.12.2007 11:46

I was using a Gig as an example, you said it took all nite to sync, so on a 30 gig zune the longest it could take would be a few dont have to add you collections one by a bunch at once and drag and drop, its to easy, and you dont have to delete the music off your computer just out of you zune library...

1231.12.2007 12:58

Just imagine how much more biz MS would have gotten if Windows Live wasn't messed up the entire week! I have yet to get the first sync with MS on my Zune. Couple that with the same issues on my Xbox360 and I'm left with a weeks worth of less than great performance from MS.

Xbox LIVE Service Status
Status: Users may experience intermittent issues logging onto Xbox Live. Our engineers are continuing to investigate and are working to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.

If they were trying to impress me with how much better I have it from my old 3rd gen iPod they lost their opportunity.

1331.12.2007 13:47

You probably have a USB2 port. I do not. The Zune did load slower than for the same sized iPod using iTunes or Media Monkey. However, it was sill adding tunes to the library which used a significant amount of CPU time. Everything moved in slow motion while that was taking effect. As I said before I have a slow old computer with vast storage. A computer bought in the last year or so is going to have much more horsepower and probably less disk space.

I suspect you had a different setup than I did. 7thsinger had the some of the same complaints. Those also point to the auto add feature. Your version forced you to add the tunes. That is what I like. I don't know if yours or mine is newer. If the auto add was turned off that would have solved most of the problems. That is a feature from hell!

I had indicated I did not want the software to add the tunes by clicking the cancle button, however it continued in the backround. Nothing pisses me off more than doing the opposite of what I indicate. Countermanding my direction once or twice is about all I can tollerate. The damage is done. I also don't care for things organized way differently than I am used to. I am too old for that crap. I am sure my age is a problem. I would not like any app thet interchanges up for down just to be special. I am not as flexable as most of you. However, I had no trouble with any of the paid for, third party apps or even the simple Media Player. The software 'seemed to be user friendly' vs annoyed that you want the software to do something. It is like the software has a NYC aditude.

So shift and click works with the Zune and it remembers what has been deleted so it will not add them back? Zune is looking much better.

It is obvious I did not spend enough time playing with it. I will try to refrain from bashing it too much. I didn't like iTunes much either. I felt it was slow, clumsey and unintuitive. What little I did see Zune seemed to be more intuitive than iTunes except when it did not use the sync list. Maybe the list had to be finished before connecting the Zune, not just before the sync button in clicked. I am mostly pissed off because I can't use third party software with it.

I will leave figuring Zune out to my son.

1431.12.2007 17:25

well if you have any specific Questions you can PM me, ive got it down pretty good, but without that high speed USB port everything will transfer really sure, but im sure you know that..good luck

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