After years of Zune and Windows Phone experience, I’ve kind of lost sight of the old way of doing things. But Windows Phone 8’s support of the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) means that Microsoft’s latest smart phone platform isn’t as closely tied to the firm’s media software as were previous products. So you now have a wider range of choices when it comes to syncing music (and podcast) content.

Reader Wayne V. tipped me off to this, which is head-slappingly excellent. I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of this.

MTP is what makes Windows Phone 8 handsets available from File Explorer in Windows 8 and via Windows Photo Gallery and other photo acquisition tools. But this capability also means that you’re able to copy music, playlists, and podcasts from a variety of third party applications to Windows Phone 8 devices.

If you’re using iTunes to manage your media collection, I’ve already written about how you can use this tool in tandem with the Windows Phone desktop application in Windows Phone 8 Tip: Enjoy Podcasts on the Go. It works pretty well, in my opinion.

Of course, not everyone likes iTunes.

The tipster suggests using MusicBee, which he says works just fine with Windows Phone 8 devices, and lets you sync your PC-based music, playlists, and podcasts.

Songbird is another similar option. (Be sure to leave the “MTP Device Support” add-on enabled during Setup.) And while I didn’t do a ton of testing yet, I was able to drag and drop songs and playlists to the phone, and they work fine.

You can also use Windows Media Player, which is built into Windows (all supported versions except Windows RT) of course.

Does anyone else have a favorite media player application that works like this? Let me know, and I’ll add a link to it here.