Microsoft killed Zune, and now I'm using WinAmp... again. I'm not surprised. I suppose that somewhere deep in their accounting department they were showing losses, or maybe not enough gains, and word worked its way out of Accounting and up to Management and eventually down to the users. Canceled.
It's not really canceled. You can still use it. You can still pay them. But they're not bothering to update the Zune software, which is what made paying them worthwhile. I should explain.
There are a handful of things that made Zune appealing to me over other, "similar", services. When you pay for Zune, you have DRM'ed access to the entire Zune library of music. This means you can not only stream, but also download and transport your music with you wherever you go, without an internet connection required. With my Zune player, this is easy. Obviously, I don't do a lot of that, but that's what made the other property of the Zune service good for me -- If you like a track, your monthly subscription gives you an allotment of credits you can use to remove the DRM from files, leaving plain MP3s. And my other devices use MP3s.
The software itself had some flaws. Yeah, serious flaws. But it worked. And it wasn't that ugly iTunes-looking business. The Zune player was actually... pretty. Maybe I'm weird, but I like the album and photo visualizations. Getting to certain tracks shouldn't have been so difficult, and the software was often slow. This is still a problem in other software. iTunes is crap in this regard, too. But Zune was no worse to navigate than the others.
I thought I would try the XBox Music app that is in Windows 8. I can't stand it. Like the revelation I've had with the XBox, I'm tired of buying software that then tries to sell me things I don't want. Why XBox Music thinks I want to hear Kenny Chesney, given my complete lack of Country music in my inventory, I can't tell you. With all of the upsell on the main interface, it's impossibly hard to get to my own music. Even when I remember, the search feature is stuffed in a Windows 8 "charm" instead of being a primary UI feature, which is simply wrong.
The straw that broke the camels back alighted this morning when I realized that not all of my music was listed in the player. I looked at the instructions the XBox Music app provided for getting music into it. I observed that my music was already in the required location, and yet only some of the tracks were present. When I tried to drag the track I wanted to play onto the XBox Music app, it didn't work. Ah yes, Windows 8/Metro and cross-app interactivity is non-existent. So I gave up and went back to WinAmp.
I know I'm missing out on all of the streaming services. I don't care too much. Maybe I'm "getting old", but the pop/house garbage that is the bulk of streamed new music these days doesn't do it for me. There's only so much of that genre I can endure. Usually about 2 seconds worth. I don't feel like I'm missing much ignoring Spotify's crappy app interface, either, and I simply can't be bothered with a web interface to music, since my job would have me rebooting my music when I'd most enjoy listening to it (ie "while my web browser is restarting").
So it's back to WinAmp for me. Look at it, sitting "quietly" at the top of the screen, doing it's thing. Playing music. Just like I told it to. Imagine that.