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Microsoft Media Music Hardware

Sony and Universal Prohibit Sharing Via Zune 325

Posted by Zonk
from the as-if-the-zune-didn't-have-enough-trouble-already dept.
ack154 writes "Engadget has a story about Sony and Universal Music apparently denying Zune owners the ability to 'squirt' songs by certain artists to other Zune users. That's right, if you've actually purchased songs from the Zune marketplace and happen to run into another Zune owner, you're prohibited from sharing certain songs. From the article: 'In a non-scientific sampling of popular artists by Zunerama and Zune Thoughts, it looks like it's roughly 40-50 percent of artists that fall under this prohibited banner, and the worst news is that there's no warning that a song might be unsharable until you actually try to send it and fail.'"
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Sony and Universal Prohibit Sharing Via Zune

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  • by DannyO152 (544940) on Friday January 19, 2007 @11:59PM (#17691490)
    would have cost $2 per unit for Universal, I gather.
    • Sounds like some sort of Microsoft Condom...
    • by Runnin_Rob (664724) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:43AM (#17692582)
      Reading this made me realize an implied feature of the iPhone - with an 802.11 connection and running OSX, this could essentially run iTunes. Well, when I open iTunes on my laptop on campus I see a dozen or so shared music lists on the network. If you want to share your music with the cute girl in the coffee shop it would be easy as pie with an iPhone - as long as you're on the same network. This scheme would work better than the Zune's squirt anyway. You can stream the music from someone else's machine as long as they are in range for as many times as you would like, and when you're no longer on the same network it goes away (iTunes doesn't allow you to copy the music over). Plus you get the added benefit of searching the other person's music list and you can share passively. The iPhone just might be a lot more social.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @04:21AM (#17692990)

        If you want to share your music with the cute girl in the coffee shop it would be easy as pie...

        YOU think it is the cute girl in the coffee shop but is is actualy the fat gay guy, with pink tutu, next to you!
         
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by runlevel 5 (977409)
        Actually, music purchased from the iTunes store is locked down about equally as bad as these files in the Zune. iTunes will ask your for the authorization password if you try to play someone's DRM'd music over the nextwork. No password, no music for you. Only non-DRM music (stuff ripped yourself or have otherwise "acquired") can be shared.

        I'm pretty sure the Zune would let your share non-DRM'd mp3s as well.

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0lt (729408) <b0lt@ls.qc.to> on Friday January 19, 2007 @11:59PM (#17691492)
    So basically, the Zune is even more useless?
    Why even bother including a transmission service if it isn't just limited to be barely useful, but not have it work at all for half of the songs you can legitimately get?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Teresita (982888)
      You can't wi-fi RIAA songs to each other, but if someone ever hacks the Zune, they'll sit there and infect each other, especially if everyone is close together at the stadium or something.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by arekusu (159916) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:44AM (#17692264) Homepage
      It's pretty useful as a source of jokes.

      I mean, how many other logos [bdmonkeys.net] can you make look like a cat-butt?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mochan_s (536939) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:23AM (#17692506)

      Zune has a bigger screen and Wifi compared to Apple iPod of same price.

      It has a stupid firmware OS or whatever that runs on it full of DRM.

      If there is a hacked firmware upgrade that disables all the nastiness, would you buy it? If you could upload your entire mp3 collection to your zune and transfer files via wifi to other people without any limitations?

      Just look at the Sony PSP.

      • if there is a hacked firmware upgrade that disables all the nastiness, would you buy it?

        If you want to buy something you have to hack anyway - aren't there then a lot of other, better, devices to look at rather than a Zune? Like for instance the PSP which has a much higher resolution screen, or other devices that have keyboards. Realistically how useful is even a hacked Zune, when you can get other devices with even better raw features for around the same price?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:00AM (#17691494)
    A resounding "FUCK!" from all of those who have bought MSFT stock hoping that Zune will catch on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:00AM (#17691502)
    Every song is treated identical, whether it's idie or big label crap it's all exactly the same.
    • by russ1337 (938915)
      ----> Ah, sorry, thought you were talking about the Zune still... didnt read your title with the Apple reference.. Sry.
  • A lot of people think that Microsoft is an abusive software company. However, the facts seem to fit the theory that Microsoft is an abuse company that sells software.

    --
    U.S. government violence has stopped the centuries-long violence in Iraq and created a peaceful democracy. NOT!
    • by MSFanBoi2 (930319) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:10AM (#17691606)
      So lemme get this right, Sony and other music companies that force Microsoft do implement DRM.. but Microsoft is still at fault?

      Its not as if Microsoft has a choice in this matter.
      • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:31AM (#17691774)

        If Microsoft can't make the application work as advertised or disclosed, they should offer a different set of features.

        This is the best evidence yet that this whole "squirting" business was invented by an uninformed marketing department, that wasn't aware of the real-world limitations Microsoft's partners were going to place on the system.

        For example, I'm sure someone would love to sell a radio that shows album art, but if doing so requires an internet connection for the radio, and regular updates of radio schedules from a web service, and rights negotiations, and on, and on, and on, the someone might want to consider selling something that would actually work, as opposed to something that's got bullet points up the wazoo but doesn't.

        It isn't MS's fault the music is restricted, any more than it's Apple's in their case, but Microsoft's implementation within its restrictions is broken, and not going to win it converts in the MP3 market. Given, of course, that they're really serious about taking a share of the MP3 player market, or if all this isn't some twisted "tactical" maneuver to "position" some "platform" for some reason known but to Chair-Man.

        • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:53AM (#17691892)
          It isn't MS's fault the music is restricted, any more than it's Apple's in their case

          I'd argue that it *is* Microsoft's fault to some degree. I can't think of any major technology company that's been going in for DRM as heavily as they have been. Even Sony was happy with a mere root kit for their DRM, and backed off when enough people complained; whereas in Vista MS has added not one but two levels of access *beyond* the formerly root-equivalent Administrator level to support their DRM schemes, and requires specialized hardware support right down to the silicon for HD content's DRM.

          Microsoft has tremendous influence in the market, they could have done a lot to keep things relatively sane if they tailored their systems to the needs of their customers rather than the media industry. And, with just a little marketing savvy, they could have made a mint doing it as well, as Apple's phenomenal success with kinder gentler and more consistent DRM schemes has shown.

          The media companies may be pushing this bullshit too hard to stop entirely, but the tech companies owe it to their shareholders as much as their customers to push back for solutions that are, if not entirely and ideally free, at least *usable*.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Keeper (56691)
            Tell me, what kind of leverage does Microsoft have to negotiate terms here? The people providing the content lose nothing if they exclude their music from Microsoft's service.

            The options are:
            1) put in the stupid DRM features and get a license to sell the specified content
            2) don't put in the stupid DRM features, and watch as people continue to buy iPods because of the diverse selection of music available in the iTunes store
            3) don't sell a device at all
            • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:05AM (#17692390)
              The grandparent was referring more to MS's long term behavior in relation to DRM than to the current situation.
              But even in the immediate sense, MS might have benefitted from showing a bit of spine.

              Basically, Microsoft has chosen to:
              1) put in stupid DRM features,
              2) *and* watch as people continue to buy iPods because when they buy something form iTunes they don't have to guess which of a handful of DRM policies dictates how they can use a particular song,
              3) *and* continue to not sell their devices at all.

              The whole point of Microsoft's tanking of Plays for Sure in favor of Zune was supposed to be a smooth consistent user experience. Giving half the Sony and Universal tracks you sell different restrictions than the others without telling the buyer is *not* smooth or consistent. They'd have been better off just skipping those tracks altogether if needs be.

              That's basically what Apple has done in that kind of situation with Sony in Japan and Austrailia. If a label doesn't want to deal with your terms, just launch without them, and if you start making money they'll cave in eventually. Sacrificing usability for one label's whims is a loosing proposition in the long run; I would think that's especially true when you're trying to buy your way into the market, as Microsoft seems to be in this case.
              • by Keeper (56691) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:56AM (#17692920)
                That's basically what Apple has done in that kind of situation with Sony in Japan and Austrailia. If a label doesn't want to deal with your terms, just launch without them, and if you start making money they'll cave in eventually. Sacrificing usability for one label's whims is a loosing proposition in the long run; I would think that's especially true when you're trying to buy your way into the market, as Microsoft seems to be in this case.

                And if Microsoft was the only entity coming to the party, that strategy might work for them now too. But they're not. They're competing in an established market, where the market leader nets the vast majority of sales, and where the market leader has an established/loyal following.

                I guarantee you if Sony and Universal music were not available in the Zune store, you'd be sitting here laughing at Microsoft because their music selection was non-existant. And you wouldn't buy one. And neither would anyone else.

                So, they made a choice that sucks, but still puts them (worst case) at feature parity with the market leader. Scenario 1 is still FAR better than scenarios 2 and 3. In fact, you could even argue that the companies preventing their music from being shared will sell fewer songs than the companies that do, meaning that eventually they'll see all the money they're losing and ask to turn it on.

                I'm not arguing that DRM doesn't stink, and they got a crapton of things wrong with the Zune. But regarding the DRM crap, everyone is throwing the wrong party under the bus. I guarantee you they didn't WANT to waste time, money, and effort putting this crap into a device.

                Spend 5 minutes running through the various options in your head; consider the market environment, consider what (normal) people want, consider the demands of the music companies, consider what the law allows, and consider what kind of negotiating leverage you have available.

                Your suggestions so far demonstrate a lack of understanding of the market environment and the kind of leverage Microsoft has available.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by RalphBNumbers (655475)
                  Japan, where Sony first balked at working with Apple, *was* an established market when Apple decided to launch without Sony. Almost everyone had a music-phone, and people in Japan actually *used them*, to the point that a lot of analysts thought the iPod was doomed in Japan even before they knew Sony was holding out. Apple still has only about half the market there, as opposed to ~80% in other areas, but they eventually got their songs, on nice consistent terms.

                  The fact is, people want a product they can
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Scarblac (122480)

              Make a device that allows limitless wireless sharing, plays every format it possibly can, with a rocking interface.

              That is, how about making a product that's actually better than what the competition offers. It's just a small percentage that uses iTunes anyway, people rip from CDs, copy from friends or download.

            • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:52AM (#17692894)
              Tell me, what kind of leverage does Microsoft have to negotiate terms here?

              Why on earth should Microsoft even negotiate terms? It's not like all those 80-gig iPods out there are filled with songs purchased through iTMS; most of what they're playing are mp3s, not AACs.

              If Microsoft wants to sell a *music player*, they don't need to negotiate terms at all. They don't even need to fucking *talk* to the likes of Sony. This is *Microsoft*. If they want to capture a significant percentage of the music player market, and maybe even take some of that market away from Apple, then they shouldn't negotiate terms. They should worry about making a music player that people are going to *want to buy*. Like, maybe something that plays every damned format of audio you can stick on it, including Vorbis. Maybe something that features improvements over the iPod interface (and there are quite a few interface improvements that should be readily apparent to anyone who has used one).

              You know, give the customer something he's willing to buy, at a price he's willing to pay for it. Why should MS talk to Sony and BMG and Universal? Shouldn't they be talking to their target customers, instead?
        • by ben there... (946946) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:34AM (#17692548) Journal
          This is the best evidence yet that this whole "squirting" business was invented by an uninformed marketing department, that wasn't aware of the real-world limitations Microsoft's partners were going to place on the system.

          I think they were aware of its limitations when they added the feature. In my opinion, it was never intended to be an actual useful feature. They just wanted WiFi as a bullet point on their features list, to differentiate their product from Apple's. Whether the feature actually did anything useful was an afterthought. That's why the WiFi was crippled from the start.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by evilviper (135110)

            In my opinion, it was never intended to be an actual useful feature. They just wanted WiFi as a bullet point on their features list,

            Sounds to me EXACTLY like everything else Microsoft has ever done...

            Sure, they'll advertise the millions of things Windows CE can do, but just fail to mention it's ridiculously crippled, and just BARELY fits the most basic definition... "Word Processing" means a crappy equivalent of notepad, with no options and horrible input methods that make it impossible to use even for tri

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by v1 (525388)
            I find it interesting just how far behind microsoft is lagging. Just about the time the Zune was catching up with the ipod in features and usefulness (and it never really made it), out comes the iPhone. It's like a leisurely drive down the autobahn in a corvette, and you look in your back mirror and see a pinto closing in on you. Small chuckle. Romp on gas. Watch pinto rapidly disappear into nothing.

            Such an absurd presumption from Microsoft. It's not even serious enough to be considered a joke.
      • by norminator (784674) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:57AM (#17691920)
        Its not as if Microsoft has a choice in this matter.

        At the very least they could label songs that are restricted. At the very least. The fact that they don't label them as such, and now people can't share the songs as advertised is pretty bad. Of course, the record companies are just plain brain-dead to think they should restrict free advertisements of their music. From what I understand, the whole sharing process is designed to encourage users to buy the songs they borrow, once their limited-use period runs out.

        Morons. All of them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Geof (153857)

        Sony and other music companies that force Microsoft do implement DRM . . . Its not as if Microsoft has a choice in this matter.

        Sony and the other music companies haven't forced Microsoft to implement anything. Microsoft could have chosen to manufacture an MP3 player and set up a music store selling MP3s from more enlightened companies and artists. They could have created their own niche in the market and targeted those not well-served by Apple's lock-in model, while also selling music playable on iPod

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iroll (717924)
        Um, iTunes tracks are in no way as crippled as Zune tracks.

        It is Microsoft's own fault that they, one of the most powerful companies on earth, have bent over double-ass-backwards for the music corps. It's like they don't even TRY to negotiate--they do the most favorable thing the music corps can come up with, and hope that those good graces will somehow propel them forward.

        Apple went to the table and hammered out a deal. Initiative wins the day over being a lickspittle. Fault: Microsoft.
      • Of course they do (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rix (54095)
        Almost all mp3 players on the market easily allow you to transfer music files onto and off of them. The only exceptions are the Zune and iPods.
  • Surprised? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gemini_25_RB (997440) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:01AM (#17691506)
    I'm not. Saw this one coming when they announced the song sharing thing. I had hoped, however, that the giant music conglomerations would grow up and let it go through. Zune shared music can only be played a few times, so what's the harm in a little advertising?
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NormalVisual (565491) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:17AM (#17691670)
      I don't get it either, but it's certainly not surprising to see the music industry completely fail to apply common sense and go out of their way to shoot themselves in the foot yet again.

      On the other hand, I'm reasonably sure this move is going to end up costing Sony and Universal money, so there's that to be happy about.
    • I had hoped, however, that the giant music conglomerations would grow up and let it go through.

      I more expected the industry to simply withold the content so the Zune would have very little music to offer. It would be like the Beatles who simply refuse to permit distribution in any format except physical albums in either LP or Compact Cassette.

      It would have been funny if the Zune marketplace had very little content and then the remainder of providers pulled out simply due to too small a marketshare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr Pippin (659094)
      Maybe the artists in question are only worth listening to a few times.
  • What next? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Draconix (653959) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:01AM (#17691508)
    Earbuds/headphones that automatically mute when someone other than their owner tries to listen to music with them?
    • Re:What next? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:17AM (#17691672)

      Earphones that measure your skin conductance while listening to songs, and then auto-rate the song based on your pleasure response. On the back end an E-bid style site allows music producers to buy the marketing data.

      Microsoft: What do you want to think today?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Mex (191941)
      Shhh! Don't give them any ideas!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by vought (160908)
      Earbuds/headphones that automatically mute when someone other than their owner tries to listen to music with them?


      We're working on this. All the user has to do is re-enter their Zune Marketplace PIN when the earphones sense a temperature swing. This will-reenable playback.

      Here at Microsoft, we're really excited about the new features we can leverage our technology to bring to you.

      -Steve Ballmer, Robbie Bach, and the Rest of the "Don't get it Gang", Working for You, The User.
  • Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <[Satanicpuppy] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:02AM (#17691524) Journal
    Microsoft: Haha jackasses! The Xbox 360 is outselling the hell out of your overpriced console and there is nothing you can do about it!

    Sony: O Rly? Squirt this bizitches.

    Ahhh, the mysterious world of corporate interaction.
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      One slight difference: Xbox360 is selling.

      The Zune is not. Far more damage is being done to Sony than the other way around.
    • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:47AM (#17692874) Journal
      Ahhh, the mysterious world of corporate interaction.

      It's really much worse than that. For all the complaints, and the long-term rivalry between Sony and Microsoft, they are STILL selling computers only with Windows, and making software for their equipment Windows-only, going out of their way to shut-out Mac and Unix systems.

      And with their huge product line-up, and money to invest, they could single-handedly do more harm to Microsoft (by switching to something like Linux on their machines, and making Linux-compatible software for their devices) than the more-often touted small-game players like Dell. Plus, it would probably pay off for them, as they'd have a far better chance of capturing the pro market with Unix workstations and notebooks, preloaded with digital multimedia software, than with the clumsy joke that is Windows' multimedia capabilities.
  • by RichPowers (998637) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:03AM (#17691528)
    It'd be a miracle if two strangers with Zunes were ever in the same area so they could "squirt" songs together. Man, that sounds wrong.
  • by ThanatosMinor (1046978) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:04AM (#17691540)
    So 40-50% of randomly-selected songs by two major labels can't be shared between Zunes. How much do you want to bet that the songs that can't be shared are top 40 hits and everyone already has them anyway? As long as people can still share indie labels and underground artists, then they can still expand their horizons by listening to songs their friends have and like. Personally, I just prefer a large LAN with everyone sharing their thousands of MP3s.
    • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768.comcast@net> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:29AM (#17691760) Journal
      So 40-50% of randomly-selected songs by two major labels can't be shared between Zunes. How much do you want to bet that the songs that can't be shared are top 40 hits and everyone already has them anyway?
      Your right, but the kicker is the fact that people who bought a Zune paid a Universal Music tax on them (Microsoft gave money to Universal for using their music on the Zune, with Universal threatening to try to pull the same shit on Apple and others) only to have Universal deny them the ability to USE the songs as the device is designed to use them AFTER paying that tax. As if the 3 play and dead deal wasnt enough, they are blocking you from even doing THAT on some songs. At that point why dont they just chain you up and throw you in maximum "pound me in the ass" prison while they're at it.

      Basically Universal stole your money pulled down your pants and tripped you on the Zune. Regardless of them being top 40 hits or not, Universal really fucked over their customers.

      Not to just pick on them though, supposedly its every label that has a bunch of songs you cant transfer.

  • Zune terms of service:

    ==========
    14. Content Usage Rules
    All music you purchase or acquire on a subscription basis from the Zune Marketplace is subject to this agreement and any other applicable terms and conditions, including limitations imposed by the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology. Content may be used for personal, non-commercial use only.

    14.1 Purchased Content Usage Rules. You are authorized to use the content that you purchased from the Zune Marketplace on up to five (5) total authoriz
    • Which part of the license agreement do you feel Microsoft is violating?

      Section 14 deals with DRM and essentially says you're bound to whatever restrictions Microsoft imposes.

      Section 14.1 does not discuss sharing songs from Zune to Zune but rather limits how many of your personal computers can play the songs.

      The last section explains how you can burn the purchased music.

      Where's the violation?
      • All music you purchase or acquire on a subscription basis from the Zune Marketplace is subject to this agreement and any other applicable terms and conditions, including limitations imposed by the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology

        I think GP is referring to the fact that the music is subject to "any other applicable terms and conditions". It's not that MS is violating anything, they just pass the buck onto the music Industry to make up rules - hence the new "squirt" rule.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:06AM (#17691556)
    if you've actually purchased songs from the Zune marketplace and happen to run into another Zune owner...

    Given the near astronomical odds of actually finding another Zune owner within a 20-mile radius that you'd want to share your music with, I think this problem is pretty much moot.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:07AM (#17691564)
    I remember reading about Steve Jobs complaining about the RIAA and the prices they want to charge (while he tried to keep it at $0.99 per song, regardless of song) and the RIAA complaining back that iTunes was too powerful and whatnot and was steamrolling them.

    Now Microsoft was fairly nice to the RIAA and even paid them a royalty per MP3 player and now the Zune's most vaunted feature, their crippled wireless, can't even be utilized correctly. If the Zune had any steam amoung any geek circles (not that I think it did), this will surely kill it because it had few other advantages. It seems the RIAA and its member companies have royally screwed Microsoft.

    I guess this shows how business truly gets conducted and how the RIAA should be dealt with when it is whining.

    A present to Microsoft:
    http://allaboutfrogs.org/stories/scorpion.html [allaboutfrogs.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ePhil_One (634771)
      Now Microsoft was fairly nice to the RIAA and even paid them a royalty per MP3 player and now the Zune's most vaunted feature, their crippled wireless, can't even be utilized correctly.

      Universal is trying to psyche itself up to standing up to Steve Jobs and iTunes by demanding a cut of every iPod, I suspect this was part of the reason MS rolled over for Universal in the first place, 1% of every iPod is a fortune, 1% of every Zune is a pitance. When ever pressed, they stop short of saying they will pull th

      • by BearRanger (945122) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @05:43AM (#17693240)
        While you may be right about Microsoft's ultimate goal to indirectly hurt the iPod, this strategy is not without risk for the record labels.

        An out of left field idea that has been voiced before, but is now actually closer to reality. Apple has settled their dispute with Apple Records. A recent Slashdot story mentions a British band that made the Top-40 with an online-only release of their single.

        How many artists would jump at the chance to directly release their music on iTunes?

        There's plenty of money to be made in the music business without excessively bleeding the artists or the consumers. A direct to iTunes model could be a catalyst to ultimately changing the way artists reach their listeners. It's also Steve Jobs' tactical nuclear weapon in his dealings with the record labels.

  • Haven't we learned, don't pay for it till after sp2 or later.

    Is the HAHA tag applicable here?
  • by inode_buddha (576844) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:13AM (#17691628) Journal
    Fine with me. I'm still trying to scrub my brain out after picturing Ballmer squirting. *shrug*
  • Real "iPod Killer" you got there Mr. Ballmer. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the sales start to take off.

    Seriously though I just don't understand how something can come to a market like this with a major selling point like this crippled the way it is. This is a perfect example of the difference between Apple's approach to the iPod and the way pretty much everybody else has gone at it. If the recording labels had tried to limit a similar feature in the iPod this way it would have likely
  • by popo (107611) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:16AM (#17691656) Homepage
    I've said it 1000 times but I'll say it again:

    I haven't paid for music in almost 10 years... until this year: I've spent almost $700 on AllOfMP3.com

    And all the evidence points to the fact that I'm not alone. AllOfMP3.com is making millions.

    Illegal? Yes. Sure, whatever. So is Limewire. And there's no potential for revenue generation there.

    Say what you will about AllOfMP3.com but there's a profound lesson there that the labels and the RIAA should learn from:
    They're getting people who don't spend money on music to spend money. That's huge.

    When the "real, de-facto" option for consumers is free vs. DRM crippled -- they should be rejoicing the fact that
    there is, in fact a middle ground: DRM-free, high-quality music (not 128bit crap) at a price that
    makes sense given the lack of shipping, manufacturing and retail overhead.

    I still contend that if the labels embraced the pricepoint and the formula they'd be making multiples over
    what they're making now.

    The problem isn't piracy. The problem ultimately is greed.

    Their business model is hilariously weak, and instead of adjusting to market forces like all other industries
    must do -- they're attempting to ram it down the throats of consumers.

    Good luck boys.
    • by idonthack (883680) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:12AM (#17692018)

      You look like the perfect person to answer my question.

      Why pay for music from allofmp3? It's (sort of) legal, but the artists still don't receive anything. Which means it's like buying from the RIAA, only cheaper. Which means it's like p2p, only more expensive.

      Downloading from allofmp3 is about as "moral" as just straight downloading. What's the point in paying for it?

      • I think it's convience. It's worth a few cents to have a known-good, high-quality, easily downloadable song picked from a large selection. (Note that I don't use AllOfMP3, mainly because I just never got around to it)...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IonOtter (629215)
        1. Faster than P2P: doesn't crap out when mom turns off the computer after Junior goes to school.

        2. Kinda-sorta secure connection: nobody else snooping on your IP address.

        3. Your choice of recording quality: no "fake" songs uploaded by the RIAA.

        I'd buy THAT for a dollar!
      • Downloading from allofmp3 is about as "moral" as just straight downloading. What's the point in paying for it?

        I haven't bought anything from allofmp3, but have read answers to questions such as yours the million or so times they've been posted to slashdot.

        Basically, people buy from allofmp3 for three reasons.

        1) Convenience. Easy to find songs.
        2) Consistent tags (no foo fighter songs with "Christian Rap" as their genre [or spelt as foo fighters, Foo Fighters, Fo Fighters, Foo Fighter])
        3) Reliable song download times. All http, songs will take the same amount of time to download instead of ranging from minutes (for very popular songs) to weeks (for obscure, only shared by one guy in peru on dial-up songs).

        Many people don't care about moral issues, but find the above factors worth paying a few cents per song.

        Frankly, all of the above should be exceedingly obvious to anyone who's ever downloaded music from p2p.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:30AM (#17692524)
        Downloading from allofmp3 is about as "moral" as just straight downloading. What's the point in paying for it?
        1. Convenience
        2. Quality Assurance


        You know, the stuff that the "legit" music distributors are supposed to provide.
      • by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:27AM (#17692774)
        For 100th time...

        AoMP3 PAYS about 20% of song's price to artist. That's MORE than artists get from ITMS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CODiNE (27417)
        Downloading from allofmp3 is about as "moral" as just straight downloading. What's the point in paying for it?

        Plausible deniability my friend.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I really don't think AoM is even close to a middle ground because music production costs money. I really don't think the AoM prices even begin to cover those expenses. You vastly overestimate the cost of replication, shipping and retail overhead. There's a lot more to the cost of making those bits than AoM's pricing structure can possibly sustain.

      If you don't like the RIAA, that's fine, but the solution is to support indie music, not ripping off RIAA music through AoM or Limewire because that's still rei
      • by Rix (54095)
        Allofmp3 isn't substantially less expensive than eMusic. If eMusic can pay their bills, certainly the RIAA could emulate their model.
  • Oh Noes!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ruiner13 (527499) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:17AM (#17691674) Homepage
    I can only imagine how upset the zune owners will be once they find this out. Heck, both of them might even return the zunes!
  • Duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:18AM (#17691680) Homepage
    In a non-scientific sampling of popular artists by Zunerama and Zune Thoughts, it looks like it's roughly 40-50 percent of artist that fall under this prohibited banner, and the worst news is that there's no warning that a song might be unsharable until you actually try to send it and fail.

    Well of course there is no warning that a song might be unsharable! If they warned you, you might not buy it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:21AM (#17691728)
    Ok... you may or may not remember the following item from billboard magazine a few weeks ago:

    http://billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.js p?vnu_content_id=1003380831 [billboard.com]

    "Yesterday, Microsoft agreed to share revenue from Zune sales with record labels and artists. Forcing the issue was Universal Music Group, which at deadline is the only label named in the program. UMG refused to license its music to the Zune unless it could receive a percentage of each device sold, in addition to standard music licensing fees for downloads and subscriptions.

    "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it," UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris says. "So it's time to get paid for it."


    When I saw the headlines on Engadget I thought for sure Universal wouldnt be one of the labels, after all Microsoft chose to pay them off causing good ol' Doug to say he's entitled to a chunk of iPod sales as well. This begs the question: what was the point of the payoff? What did it get them?
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:35AM (#17692178)
      ...causing good ol' Doug to say he's entitled to a chunk of iPod sales as well. This begs the question: what was the point of the payoff? What did it get them?

      You answered your own question! Precedent for forcing the same kind of "deal" on Apple is the payoff. Microsoft doesn't give a shit about the Zune; that's why it isn't a "PlaysForSure" device (and probably why it looks like a piece of shit too). It's greatest value to Microsoft is as a sabot -- a shoe to throw into Apple's works.

  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:32AM (#17691780) Homepage
    Pretty much had my jaw drop on that one - in light of MS stating the Zune with its wireless sharing features will 'kill' the iPhone and iPod and such you would have thought the Music Industry would play all nicey-nicey till the Zune had some market share then start doing thier stuff.
  • by straponego (521991) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:46AM (#17691852)
    Come on, loyal Microsoft customers, what are the odds that she'd pull the ball away just before you try to kick it again? You're due!

    /me waits for the inevitable "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGGGH!!"

  • So so so wait... Microsoft gives Universal a chunk of change every time a Zune is sold, THEN Universal prevents certain songs from utilizing the only significant gimmick the Zune has?

    Not that "squirting" was actually simple to begin with, nevertheless, this is how Universal repays Microsoft? F*cking classic.

    Hopefully the nanotech battery angels will come down, make WiFI PMPs practical, and allow sharing that is at least similar to iTunes library sharing. And hopefully by then Universal will have pulled its
  • Since the Zune has WiFi, I'd assume someone would've tried to reverse-engineer the protocol so they can send any music file to any zune (and photos, etc). In other words, a perfect way to fill someone's zune with spam, or basically DoS their Zune by having the screen constantly filled with "xxxx wants to send you a file, accept?".

    I guess with so few Zunes sold, well, the effort isn't worth the rewards. Though, captive audiences...
  • The funniest part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quantaman (517394) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:10AM (#17692002)
    The Zune has only been out for something like a month and people have just noticed this out now??

    Just how unpopular is it?!?
  • I was actually hoping Zune would be a viable competitor to the iPod, being so sick of the latter having saturated our culture (the vehicle with the integrated iPod dock was the straw). But Microsoft's DRM, the restricted media sharing, no Mac support... just crippled it horribly out of the gate. And now bowing/catering to the Monster Records when they should Stand Tall... is just pitiful.

    I actually pity Microsoft in a small way, and recalling their other boners (such as BOB), I can't wait to see what the
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:13AM (#17692026) Journal
    Zune is done.

    -jcr
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Teresita (982888)
      The Zune display at Circuit City is just as big as the Divx display was back in about 1996, same hopeful looks in the salesperson's eyes as you float by.
  • "Beam 50% Of Your Beats"
  • Basically, why did they even add the option to their DRM to prevent "squirting"? Did the seriously think that the paranoid recording companies would *not* use that option if it was there? If they had the slightest brains at all, they would have realized that they had in fact disabled one of the few features of the Zune. And they certainly should have known they had the power to refuse to implement such an option. Most of the DRM is there to lock people into using the Zune and thus satisfies Microsoft's own
  • by aapold (753705) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @03:38AM (#17692834) Homepage Journal
    I have a Zune. There, i'll admit it. I like it, too. The zune marketplace software can be a tad slow at time but the zune pass is the main reason to have one, if I could have bought it sans the player and used what I had before (and still have) I'd have done that. But okay, fine, they need a new player to expire the content, that's probably its main reason for existing and not being their previously endorsed "playsforsure".

    Anyway, as I said the Zune pass is the main reason to have one, it lets you download whatever you want from the marketplace.

    Now, odds are if you have a zune, you have the pass. Maybe not, but likely so.

    So. If you meet another zune owner (and I'll admit this has never happened to me, and I live in one of the ten largest metro areas in the US), and you both have zune pass --- meaning whatever the song is, you could go home and download it and keep it on there for as long as you were a member (forget the 3 days 3 plays) --- you still can't zip it over there. Ridiculous. I guess you might as well just tell them the name of the song or artist.

    The wifi feature of the device is pretty much a non-feature. The zune pass is really the only feature at this time. Something apple could easily implement, and hey, I hope they do at some point. But they'd probably have to pay through the nose after microsoft's deal for that. but that's neither here nor there.

    Given the pass, the player is still worth it for me. They may update its firmware someday and add other stuff, but as I said, I mainly have this for the pass.

    I actually keep the wifi turned on (sacrificing some battery) because on the zune boards I frequent (Zunerama [zunerama.com]) they kind of encourage everyone to do that in hopes paths might cross (on the boards this has resulted in exactly one reported encounter of people that didn't buy them together)...

    Someone even went and made a way to chat with Zunes over wifi. How? Well, it lets you share photos. So he created a set of pictures with every letter of the alphabet, plus common phrases and emoticons. So you share photos in a certain order and your recipient can view the pictures to put together the message. A staggering amount of effort...

    Anyway. Given that its Sony, and Sony and Microsoft are currently enemies on the gaming front, dunno if its somehow related. Sony doesn't allow sharing of music on PSPs, does it? I have a sony ericsson walkman phone which doesn't seem to have much in the way of DRM enforcement on it. It is supposed to have some kind of associated store from Cingular, but never got around to using it.
  • by shoptroll (544006) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:02PM (#17694846)
    Wow. That's incredibly pathetic. Is "Three plays or three days" not good enough for them?

    The day the label companies start actually doing good for their customers and artists is the day hell freezes over.
  • by 4iedBandit (133211) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:19PM (#17695800) Homepage
    Here's what happened at Apple:

    Apple: Okay, it's $.99 or nothing.
    MusicExec: But...
    Apple: No.
    MusicExec: We need...
    Apple: No.
    MusicExec: It's not enough...
    Apple: No.
    MusicExec: Okay fine.

    Apple came up with FairPlay to give the Music people some peace of mind. As far as DRM goes, it's about as consumer friendly as I've ever seen. They've also limited iTunes sharing to the local subnet only. However, Apple also recognized that in order to grow the market they have to provide value to the consumer. Argue against that all day if you want. Millions of iPods and billions of tracks sold at the iTunes Music Store prove that they are providing value.

    Here's what happened at Microsoft:

    MusicExec: We need...
    Microsoft: You got it.
    MusicExec: We want...
    Microsoft: Whatever makes you happy.
    MusicExec: Jump.
    Microsoft: How high?

    Microsoft is not about creating value for consumers. It never has been. It's about dominating markets and doing whatever it takes to reach that end. Don't fool yourselves. Any value created for the consumer is an afterthought. This "limitation" was built into the Zune from the beginning. Microsoft is going to do whatever they can to get the labels to sign on so they have content to sell. This includes crippling the touted abilities of the Zune and paying the labels a percentage of each Zune sold. It has nothing to do with providing value to the customer.

    Oh and one last thing. Do you really think the artists see anything of that $1 from each Zune sold?

    For once in Apple's existance, they are competing in a market space with Microsoft where they are equal. They both sell music players, they both have music stores. May the best one win.

    (and yes I'm voting for Apple)

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