Zune Software Bugs: What’s In A Name?

The Zune has a great feature where you can sync music from a PC to your Zune and then copy that music from the Zune to a different PC. Some people seem to think you can’t copy music off the Zune to a different machine, which is wrong.

Of course with the good comes the bad. When you copy a song off the Zune it uses the Rip Music settings to create the folder and filename. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so broken. Here are some bugs related to this particular feature.

1. You can’t specify the folder structure. I hope you like ArtistAlbumTrack Title because that’s all you’ll get.

2. Limited (worthless) separators. The default is 01 Sample Song Name.MP3. That’s not bad looking but the other 17,482 songs in my library all look like 01 - Sample Song Name.MP3 instead. Luckily there’s a dash separator option but guess what that gives you?

01-Sample Song Name.MP3

Notice the fancy way it doesn’t insert spaces?! I’ve been dealing with mp3 files since the beginning of time (seriously, when Winamp, Freeamp and Sonique were the only players in the desktop arena) and of the thousands of songs I’ve seen others tag I’ve maybe seen the “dash with no spaces” separator style about 2% of the time. 90% of the time it’s “dash with spaces”.

3. Microsoft has a long history of using the Album Artist tag to organize the library instead of the more standard “Artist” field. Many a person has been burned/annoyed/angered by this, personally I’m just dead inside from having to deal with it.

A common issue is only seeing part of an album in WMP because half the songs have an “Album Artist” of “Paul Oakenfold” while the other half have “Oakenfold”, yet they all have “Paul Oakenfold” as the Artist. Annoying, yah? The usual way around this is to just blank out the “Album Artist” field and WMP/Zune will instead use the Artist field like everyone else.

All is fine using this work-around UNTIL you copy music without an “Album Artist” field. Instead of using the Artist field if the Album Artist field doesn’t exist it decides to create a folder called “Unknown Artist”. Well, isn’t that useful? So while the Zune software correctly shows “Tenacious D” as the artist it copies it to my work computer underneath “Unknown Artist” because of the missing Album Artist.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone on the Zune software team actually listened to MP3s before the iPod? Do any of them remember burning CD after CD late into the night and carefully naming/tagging everything? Has anyone there actually used anything *besides* WMP to play/manage their music? Does anyone remember the time there weren’t any online music stores and ALL music was either a) ripped straight from CD or b) pirated via the “real” Napster?

If anyone did remember they’d know that the filename format is sacred, you just don’t mess with a person’s personal filename format.