Why we don’t talk about Zune

Brandon LeBlanc comments on last week’s Guardian article on DRM and says:

What is interesting to me is the article neglects to look at what Microsoft is doing with Zune in regards to DRM. Just like Apple and Amazon – the Zune Marketplace also offers DRM-free music.

According to this page on the Zune Marketplace:

Browse over three million songs you can preview and download—most are now available as MP3s that’ll play on your Zune device or any other MP3 player. Or get an instant music collection: Zune Pass gets you millions of downloads for just $14.99 a month.

Answering LeBlanc, one reason is that Microsoft has not made Zune available internationally, so its visibility in the UK is rather minimal. Nevertheless, the Zune developments are interesting. In fact, the Zune now has pretty much the business model many expect Apple’s iTunes and iPod/iPhone to have in the future – all-you-can-eat subscription, with a premium download option.

Still, Microsoft has a marketing problem with Zune. First, it’s perceived as a me-too answer to iTunes/iPod. Second, the branding is focused firmly on the Zune device, which has only a small market share. Amazon on the other hand makes great play of the iPod compatibility of its MP3 store. How can Microsoft promote Zune marketplace as a source for DRM-free iPod music, without undermining the whole Zune concept in which device and store are tied tightly together?

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1 comment to Why we don’t talk about Zune

  • Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft but not with Zune

    I recently tried out a zune 8 gig and the zune pass. While I dislike DRM and will never buy anything DRMed I don’t mind it for the zune pass rent-a-music. Almost everything in the catalog is downloadable as part of the pass so it’s a great way to find new music. Time to turn in my ipod and get a zune. Oooh, shiny.