Let me preface my remarks by declaring my bias – I want zune to succeed because:
- I used to work for Microsoft and know some dudes involved
- I am proud to have played a small part in this product from a local audio guru (Vaf)
- My life would be more flexible if the MSFT stock price got into the $100’s again!
- Getting peer to peer sharing of user generated multimedia content
right would be a win-win to the power of some large number – it could
make the world a more interesting place and increase the value of lots
of things I do.
From my understanding of the universe the major obstacle to
exponential growth in coolness and market value of creative work on the
read/write web is the legal framework that Creative Commons addresses.
Once we figure out how to set digital content free (and find business
models that get rewards for creators) it won’t be long before all
restricted digital content is relegated to the ghetto that will feed on
all attempts to artifically restrict bits to the behavior of atoms.
So when I saw this my heart sank:
"Zune, Creative Commons don’t mixWired News: Zune, Creative Commons
Don’t Mix. Microsoft’s efforts to loosen up access to closely held
music owned by record labels has an unintended consequence: It punishes artists who want to share."
Now the pessimist in me suspects that the first release of zune will
come with many limiting unintended consequences (just like my xbox
before I had it chipped). But even without much reading around the
links, it soon became clear that there is still some hope for zune.
From the wired article Zune, Creative Commons Don’t Mix
Microsoft confirmed that an unprotected MP3 file loaded onto one Zune
and then sent to another remains identical to the first copy. A company
representative told me: "We are not applying any ‘DRM’ to any files
that weren’t already protected. No file that has (for instance) a
Creative Commons license or is unprotected will have any encryption
applied to it."
Phew – the community or zune-zune sharing (as the p2p social stuff
is called) isn’t outright evil and blatantly stupid. But will it be
good enough to ‘go viral’ on its p2p sharing of user generated
content? From what I’ve read, probably not (at least this version).
Zune-to-Zune Sharing: Yep, it’s limited. It’s not what we all
wanted. But it is a unique feature that nobody else can really claim.
The key phrase is "three days or three plays." Beaming a song to
another Zune happens pretty quickly, and then they can listen to it
three times or for three days, whichever comes first. After that, the
song is gone but the metadata remains, so they can easily find/buy it
if they liked it.
So, we will have to wait – firstly to see how zune v1.0 plays out in
the marketplace, then whether the zune team are able to see the light
and act (i.e. build and ship v3.0) before someone else gets this right
and creates the real iPod killer.
I sure hope zuneguy and his mates will cast some light on this.
Fang – Mike Seyfang