A Mac User Considers His Zune Options

So, if it isn’t obvious yet, I’m quite smitten with Microsoft’s Zune subscription service. Mostly because it’s cheap.

I’m a heavy music consumer and spend anywhere from $50 to $200 every month at iTunes. And that’s with an extreme degree of musical abstinence!  I generally don’t listen to what I purchase more than two or three times, though, so it’s a very, very costly habit. Spending $10 at Zune every month for the same thing is an extremely attractive proposition, and it would grant me more options in terms of listening to what I want, rather than what I can afford.

The problem is, I don’t have a Windows-based PC. I don’t have a Windows Phone 7. I have an XBox, but I’m not always listening to music in my living room.

So how do I make Zune work for me?

The easiest and most convenient way would be to buy a Windows Phone 7. The only one that’s available to me, however, is the HTC HD7 from Latitude Wireless. But this device has been on the market for almost 2 years (!) and costs a stiff $600 (!), so would come close to wiping out the savings I’d experience with Zune. But I sure do love that “Mango” interface…

If I wanted to give up mobility, but gain a whole host of other benefits, I could rig up something based on a second XBox, which has excellent support for Zune, for less than a Windows Phone 7. A new XBox console, new TV, and new stereo system could be had through Boxing Day sales for less than $500. This might work, because my second favourite place to listen to music is in my studio while I work.

Of course, the most cost-effective way would be to pick up one of those crappy netbooks. Staples is advertising a junky little Acer in its Boxing Day sale for $188 (just $20 more than buying a full Windows 7 Home edition alone – WTF?!).

I have no doubt, though, a crappy Windows netbook might cost more in frustration than the savings it offers, so one of Staples’ other deals like a 15″ Toshiba with a proper Intel chip for $400 might just be worth the extra cash. But then there’s the additional costs of virus software (such an odd consideration for a Mac user) and some desktop speakers… and the time to suffer managing the Windows OS. Ugh.

It all sounds pricy, but when a Zune subscription has the potential to save me anywhere from $600 to $1440 in a year, a little spending up front could just be worth it, despite the huge cultural change I’d have to suffer as well.

Of course, if Microsoft would just release a Zune player for Mac, and if Apple would just approve a Zune player for iOS, things would be so much easier. Or, you know, if iTunes just introduced a subscription service… Or if world peace became a reality, that would be nice, too.