Microsoft killed the Zune, but Zune-heads are still here – The Verge7 min read

https://www.theverge.com/22238668/microsoft-zune-fans-mp3-music-player-subreddit

He owns the whole scope of the quick Zune lineup– from the svelte Zune 4 to the chunky Zune HD– and among the tiny community of individuals who still adore Microsofts much-derided MP3 player, no collection of dead tech might perhaps be more excellent.
My individual favorite: a Rubiks cube that, when resolved, reveals the Zunes polyhedral insignia on all of the white squares, as if to state the response to one of historys most vexing logic puzzles is, permanently, Zune.
“Started this project in late May, and its lastly completed,” says Woods, in a different post, revealing that he had actually successfully included a 128GB SSD to a simple Zune motherboard. One regular contributor to the online forum, 27-year-old Erick Leach, reminds me that, in its prime time, the Zune came geared up with a relatively robust social media appendage: Zune owners could send out songs to each other wirelessly and unlock Xbox Live-like achievements for the music they listened to– both novel functions in the mid-2000s. Whats more, Woods makes the case that the Zune predicted the whole modern-day music market as we understand it.

Image by Conner Woods.

There has actually been absolutely no news for Zune-heads given that 2011 when Microsoft firmly revealed that it was moving on from the MP3 sector forever. “My present collection,” composes one poster, laying out their 4 Zunes on a chessboard, Electric Light Orchestras “Mr. Blue Sky” cued up on the one in the middle.
Others administer adjustments on their Zunes that press the hardware well past what it was capable of in 2006; like retrofitting a fictional future where the Zune was not just still around however dominant. “Started this job in late May, and its lastly finished,” states Woods, in a different post, announcing that he had successfully included a 128GB SSD to a simple Zune motherboard.
Most frequently, the denizens here merely want to express to their worldwide comrades that they likewise have not offered up on Zune. “Its safe to state that a lot of people are here for fond memories,” states John, a 26-year old from San Diego who informed me he was very first seduced by the Zune in middle school. Its strange to think about that a deserted shop suite of audio hardware is capable of making young men emotional, however then once again, I suppose we are only just now finding how the individual innovation boom has impacted our psyche.
” Zunes were ahead of their time.”.
One regular factor to the forum, 27-year-old Erick Leach, advises me that, in its prime time, the Zune came geared up with a fairly robust social networks appendage: Zune owners might send tunes to each other wirelessly and unlock Xbox Live-like achievements for the music they listened to– both unique functions in the mid-2000s. The brand name never ever managed to muster the cultural ubiquity of the iPod (Apple attempted its own stopped working social network, Ping, around the same time), but with that focus on neighborhood, maybe it was inescapable for the Zune to eventually mount a cult-like fandom. Thats Leachs theory, a minimum of. He constantly felt like there was an enormous country of Zune-heads out there who he would definitely meet one day. “That never ever ended up happening as the Zune died out. But it was fantastic to discover the subreddit and see the exact same enthusiasm for the Zune,” he says.
Leach believes the Zune has aged better than individuals may think. He calls it the best-sounding music player hes ever used, and he remains in awe of how it deciphered a range of various sound formats. “Artist tabs in the gadget itself consisted of artist details, photos, suggestions, a robust music shop, and totally free music for Zune Social users,” continues Leach. “It was a device for music enthusiasts who simply like music. Merely and efficiently.”.
Thats one of the wrinkles you tend to learn after hanging around with the Zune Crew, many of them are lifelong audiophiles– the sort of individuals who get religious about terms like “lossless” and “FLAC.” Whats more, Woods makes the case that the Zune anticipated the whole modern-day music market as we understand it. The Zune Marketplace provided an authentic streaming subscription– long prior to that ended up being the dominant method individuals taken in music– which never ever caught on. “People liked owning their music at that time. A paywall for music access appeared odd to individuals,” he says. “Zunes led their time.”.
” I feel less alone now than I ever did as a Zune user.”.
As much as its citizenship adores its cherished stopped working hardware, they congregate on these online forums mostly to link with others whove fallen, hopelessly and forever, under the Zunes complicated enchantment. Woods tells me that solidarity among Zuners has never been stronger. “I feel less alone now than I ever did as a Zune user,” ends up Woods.
He can search the earth looking for every last scrap of Zune souvenirs with the self-confidence that there will be an audience happy to upvote his efforts forever. He can strap an absurdly substantial SSD on the motherboard, making sure that it will never ever be changed. He can post a Zune-stamped coaster, saved from the deep recesses of the Microsoft trash stack, and trust that his friends will deal with the discovery like the Holy Grail. The Zune was mocked, lampooned, and chased out of the marketplace with its tail in between its legs. It never genuinely died, not with fans like these.

Different Zunes from Conner Woods collection.

It was strange to own a Zune in 2005. It is even weirder to own a Zune in 2021– let alone 16 of them. And yet, 27-year-old Conner Woods happily flaunts his lineup on a kitchen table. They come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and each can be identified by that telltale black plastic D-pad simply below the screen. He owns the entire scope of the short Zune lineup– from the svelte Zune 4 to the chunky Zune HD– and among the microscopic neighborhood of individuals who still love Microsofts much-derided MP3 player, no collection of dead tech might perhaps be more excellent.
Woods picked up his Zune foraging routine during the pandemic, while he was furloughed from his job working security at Best Buy. “I taught myself to solder, started purchasing up dead Zunes, and fixing and flipping them for an earnings,” he states. “At some point I ran across some rare ones and couldnt bring myself to part with them.”
He counts a particularly rare model bearing the Halo 3 logo and another with the Gears of War seal, however to totally understand the depths of Woods obsession, you need to look past the gadgets and into the fantastic beyond. Click through his post on the r/Zune subreddit, and roam into his genuine shrine of forgotten Zune fragments. Woods owns numerous Zune-stamped taking a trip cases and boombox docks. He has a Zune-branded stress ball in addition to a Zune tinderbox, total with matches that are colored in the brand names popular burnt orange and fiery purple. My individual favorite: a Rubiks cube that, when fixed, exposes the Zunes polyhedral insignia on all of the white squares, as if to say the answer to one of historys most vexing reasoning puzzles is, forever, Zune.
” Its safe to state that a great deal of individuals are here for nostalgia.”
Microsoft invested most of the 2000s a few steps behind Apple. Typically, the Zune was considered the ultimate example of that failure.
Today, nearly a years after Microsoft ended the brand, there is a small bastion of diehards who are still loving and listening to their Zunes. If you talk with them, theyll tell you that these MP3 players are the best pieces of hardware to ever run a Windows operating system. Protecting the Zune tradition has just become another part of the pastime.

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