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Archive for the ‘zune’ Category

I ran across this “cool” promotion from the CoolSW site.  It’s a user-centric software bundle at LetMeBeMobile.com.  

I did a quick search on the site and 3 of the 4 participating companies were submitted onto CoolSW and it looks like they all got together in a marketing campaign to promote mobile applications and a possibility to win a Zune (30 GB). 

The partners are:

  1. Jajah lets you make ultra low-cost global calls right off your existing phone. No contract, no headset, no computer or Internet connection needed, just big savings. Simply receive a local number for each of your international contacts – dial local and talk global. More information found HERE.
  2. ElephantDrive provides easy-to-use, simple click-to-start online storage and backup capabilities. Get all enterprise-level benefits at a fraction of the cost. Delivering effective and continuous data protections tools for online backup and synchronization, you can keep your stuff within reach anywhere, anytime. More information found HERE. 
  3. Tazti, a free, Web 2.0 style speech recognition application that lets you talk to your PC to navigate Facebook, Myspace & iTunes, search the Internet, create your own speech commands and so much more! For XP, Vista, and Mac via Parallels. More information found HERE.
  4. Talkhouse takes speech recognition for searching to a whole new level. It’s mySpeak voice search engine lets you search by keywords and phrases, just like in routine internet searches. Our next generation voice-activated music player provides users with this easy, intuitive search function. More information found HERE.

The members are part of a Software Partner Program which drives increased business and yadda, yadda, yadda…to use the Seinfeld phrase from the 153rd episode.

It’s no iPod, but check out the promotion LetMeBeMobile.com and win that Zune!

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Apple will sale EMI music without anti-piracy (DRM – digital rights management) technology — Steve Jobs proclaimed in February that music companies should sell their music DRM-free. Evangelizing that DRM-free music would create a truly interoperable music marketplace.

About a month later (4/2/07), in agreement with music label EMI, Apple is making EMI songs available without DRM through its iTunes music store. The music will be higher quality (encoded at 256kbps AAC), and tracks will cost $1.29, or 30 cents more than the standard 99 cents.

This means you can take those songs (EMIs entire catalog (DRM free) – globally in May) and put them on any device you want too. I think this helps address how I only want to buy a song or album ONCE and be able to play it in my car CD, my iPod, computer, on my PS3 or my TV. I don’t want to buy it 10 times from 10 different sources to play it on 10 different electronic components.

Is this the next big step forward for music interoperability, a significant development for the industry or a move by EMI to garner headlines? Maybe it’s all three, but at the joint press announcement EMI stated they were confident this will grow their sales and put a stake in the groud stating that 1/4 of all sales would be digital by 2010.

Hard to predict music sales let alone the digital elements, but I like the interoperability and hope other label’s follow.

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Steve Jobs provided a good read on his view and thoughts of the music industry yesterday and basically asks for DRM free music, something the entire world has been asking for. Jobs can be a catalyst, but towards what? What should the music industry do?

He makes excellent points in his post:

Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. It’s hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.

Unfortunately, Jobs asking the music industry for DRM free music is nothing but a pipe dream. It would take cooperation of an ego driven industry (remember the SonyBMG root malware crisis?) and they don’t care about understanding the user interdependencies. They care only about optimizing revenue across the entire scope of options.

We’re kidding ourselves thinking it’s an industry driven by art.

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Hardly a day streams by that someone in the music industry doesn’t pontificate that “billions” have been ripped off by music users…as example:

Universal Music CEO, Doug Morris “These devices (reference to iPod) are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it”… from a press gather on why they charge a royalty of $1 for every Zune hardware device sold and distributing half of those profits equally to it artists.

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer “Most people still steal music,”…”we can build the technology, but there are still ways for people to steal music”…at a London press gathering on a number of issues Ballmer takes a swipe and bills Microsoft as the good guys and Apple the villains. [I wonder if this includes Ballmer’s 12 year old son?!]

I’m not sure how you feel, but I don’t appreciate being called a thief. I own every CD that I’ve ripped on my computer/iPod and have saved the e-receipts of songs/videos purchased from iTunes.

Clearly Steve is mimicking those TV ads while proving the doofus image! We all know they have a vested interest in making the Zune device/service successful. But, Steve let’s call it like it is. The larger battle here is to indoctrinate consumers into Apples or Microsoft’s universe so, bashing is their call to action given the luke warm Zune reviews.

Hey, if an ol duffer like me bought an iPod (and I did) and if I not only loved the product, but the ease of use and terrific design (and I did), then I might buy more for family and friends (and I did), then I might start thinking about buying other, larger Apple products, like a desktop computer now that my old PC balks at security patches (and I did).

I’m starting to think I know this computer stuff. For Christmas I want to send the Steve/Doug “duo” copies of Steal This File Sharing Book. The book is a clever turn of title phrasing nodding to the old Abbie Hoffman book from the 1960’s. The book highlights legal grey areas, identifies popular methods of sharing files, and then digs into the meat of the subject, which is the collection of tips on legal file sharing, outlining a clear path to avoid legal question marks and lawsuits.

To be fair and I was quick to believe the Zune would tank, it’s now ranked no. 2 according to NPD stats released on November 30th. The Zune supplanted SanDisk’s Sansa no.2 spot with 9% unit sales and 13% of total dollar share during the first week of sales. The iPod continues as no. 1 with 63% unit and 72.5% of the dollar share.

Excuse me while I put my black t-shirt on as I’m feeling the pull of the white façade of the Apple store and a need to talk with a friendly sales clerk who doesn’t know how to post on GooTube either.

UPDATE:
Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman made a startling admission when he sat down for a Second Life interview with Reuters: his kids have pirated music. Well, they’ve probably pirated music—Bronfman doesn’t sound too sure.

I’m fairly certain that they have, and I’m fairly certain that they’ve suffered the consequences,” he said, though he later confirmed that he had caught at least one Bronfman child using P2P software.

I’m sure his kids were forced to cough up thousands of dollars to the RIAA to keep from getting sued. Yeah, right!

This just proves the point that “normal” young people consider file-swapping to be…well, uhmmm it’s a NORMAL way of checking out digital media. When your dad runs one of the largest music labels on the planet and you still turn to P2P networks to discover new tunes, it’s clear that the issue isn’t just lack of access to music. Or money.

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I recieved the below teaser email from Microsoft today on the new bundled personal media player/service which goes on sale November 14th. The Zune site is LIVE today as well as the animated shorts on the arts.net site. Interesting site, but as appealing as the device and service look…I’ll stay the course with my video iPod.

*********************************************************************
music is in the air

*********************************************************************
Zune is almost here. So, thanks for registering to learn more.
Hope you enjoyed what we have shown so far. We have a lot more
going on.

Zune.net went live today. Check it out to learn more.
http://www.zune.net

Plus, Coming Zune is evolving into Zune Arts. Go see it at
http://www.zune-arts.net
It’s a place for creative expression around the idea of sharing
from some of today’s most progressive artists, animators and
designers. Play around. The gallery is constantly growing.
http://www.zune-arts.net

And because you signed up early we want to give you an exclusive
heads-up. Make sure you come back to Zune.net on November 10 for
some exciting information about our launch plans.

Pass it on. 11.14.06

zune

*********************************************************************
Legal: You are receiving this email because you signed up for the
Zune newsletter. To cancel your subscription click here.

Note unsubscribing to our newsletter does not change your email
preferences with Microsoft.com. To manage Microsoft.com preferences
click below.

Zune Privacy
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington, United States 98052

*********************************************************************

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The Microsoft Zune™ digital media player and online service will be available to consumers in the U.S. on Nov. 14, 2006.

Microsoft (MSFT) claims to be putting the social back into digital music. Translated: they hope it’s an iPod killer and iTunes replacement for Christmas ’06. The device retails for $249.99 U.S. and the marketing hype states it will create new ways for entertainment fans to connect and share media experiences device-to-device through use of wireless technology. The device requires a Zune Pass subscription at $14.99/month to open up that new market of “social” music connectivity as well as access “millions” of songs. It’s that wireless element that has caused debate.

Why is Microsoft interested? Apple (AAPL)has sold ~65 million iPod’s and according to Sam Bhavnani, iTunes has ~100 million users — mainstream users who use, are educated, and accustom to the Apple music/video download model and user interface. And, they recently announced their one-billionth download on iTunes. Yep, the iPod is in Microsoft’s sights.

Microsoft’s creative strategy to include a social community with the device is very cool. I’ve blogged on social communities and how online social networking has become an incredible phenomenon. A typical social networking site, say like Facebook or MySpace, you create an individual profile detailing your age, location, whether you are in a relationship, plus your general interests, favorite music, movies and books etc.,. You might upload photographs of yourself and write daily journal entries. You build up a set of online friends, each of whom will have their own set of friends, and so on.

It’s not clear what set of features/functions the Zune device will incorporate at launch in it’s social network, but in a recent interview with Apple CEO, Jobs was ask if the iPod competitor has him worried?

In a word, no. I’ve seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you’ve gone through all that, the girl’s got up and left! You’re much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you’re connected with about two feet of headphone cable.

Besides being a clever sound bite, the point is spot on in that technology can often lose sight of the simple and/or obvious. “Social” is just that. It’s about interaction and conversations between people and not an exercise in “mental calisthenics” to waste time working with technology. It’s about getting what you want done. Time will tell if the Zune social community will evolve to an integral part of everyone’s daily life. Microsoft surely hopes it will. People participate in social networks and often prefer networks set up for other people they can relate too.

Sharing your music library while connected by two feet of headphone cable is a simple social network.

For certain youth demographics, it’s the ear-bud stupid! This just makes sense.

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