Every week at MP3tunes we hear from
people who have lost all or a portion of their iTunes music (it's
often motivation to get 'music insurance' and open
a $40 locker with unlimited storage).
happy to have a new customer, it's sad when someone loses their
personal possessions. Their loss is often tied to a DRM (digital
restricted music) problem. Music wrapped with restrictions like songs
from iTunes aren't really a purchase, but rather a rental.
Like all rentals they come to an end and you're out on the street
with nothing. It's just a matter of time before one of the following
- Technology company changes rules, technology or
strategy. See: Your
Music Goes Flat
- A hard disk crashes.
Computer is stolen, broken or upgraded.
- Exceed number of allowed
devices (usually some are lost, stolen or broken).
looking for a good verb to describe losing all of your music to DRM
because it's increasingly common and I think I have one:
Sample usage: He had an extensive classic rock
collection that got zuned.
Now if you're thinking that zune
sounds familiar it's because the press has been abuzz about an
upcoming MP3 player from Microsoft called Zune. At first glance the
features seem compelling but my prediction is it will be the biggest
flop of 2007 with less than 50,000 units sold worldwide.
wow feature of the device is wifi - a wireless way to connect to the
Internet. Great - I can get music directly to the device without a
PC! Wrong. In a baffling move Microsoft has crippled the wifi so it
cannot load music from the Internet. You'll need to attach it to your
PC and run their software just like every other MP3 player. The
wireless connection is only used to connect to another Zune device to
move songs which will then vaporize after 3 days or 3 plays even if
you own the music and both devices. Astonishingly the one
feature which could fundamentally improve upon the iPod is worthless.
If this device sounds familiar it's been tried before with the
MusicGremlin which I wrote about earlier
this year when I called it the "most
disappointing device" from this yearís CES (Consumer
In spite of the larger display and capacity
the Zune is inferior to the MusicGremlin because it zunes your entire
purchased music library. Microsoft made a corporate decision to
abandon their previous technology called "Plays for Sure"
and turn it into "Screwed for Sure". Anyone who purchased
music from Rhapsody, Napster, Buy.com,
Wal-mart, BuyMusic, etc. will discover that music is unplayable. (Of
course iTunes music won't play either because Apple doesn't play
nicely with others.) You'll be required to re-purchase that music or
The danger with DRM is that it gives corporations
the power to change the rules of the game anytime they think it will
benefit their bank account, even if that means zuning your music
library. There's no better illustration of this than when the
world's largest technology company curtails support of their OWN
technology abandoning their hardware partners, music stores and most
importantly customers they convinced to use Plays
for Sure. Microsoft will surely claim
continue to support Plays for Sure, but their actions speak louder
than their words - it won't even play on their own
players! Plays for Sure is dead for sure and it's going to its grave
with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of music fansí
music crammed into the coffin.
Microsoft will likely spend
nearly $100 million in marketing the Zune. The press will give them
tens of millions of dollars in free marketing. In spite of this
publicity the Zune will be an expensive failure for Microsoft because
consumers aren't stupid. As the saying goes: Zune me once, shame on
you. Zune me twice, shame on me.
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