Strong opinions, weakly held

Just an observation

From an article on Microsoft’s new music player, the Zune:

In its quest to catch up to iPod, however, Microsoft has hired an army of musical savants. Like Winn, many on the Zune team come from recording labels, radio stations, or other music companies.

Maybe it’s just me, but these are the people that I hate when it comes to the music business. I love music, but I hate every radio station that plays music (except the local college station), and I absolutely loathe the record labels. These people are the problem, not the solution, at least as far as I’m concerned. I don’t expect them to come out with anything great.


  1. Microsoft is going to win the portable music player wars.

    They already have the marketing advantage hands down.

    I, for one, welcome our new Redmond Overlords and am ready to crush my iPod upon command.

  2. Well, it all depends on what audience for which you’re making a music player: people who love music, or the music business.

  3. http://www.considered-harmful.org/2006/09/rafe_colburn_notes_that_develo.html

    Rafe Colburn notes that development if Microsoft’s “Zune” media player is being driven by the same folks who have made the music distribution industry the enemy of their customers: Maybe it’s just me, but these are the people that I…

  4. Seems like MS has already screwed the pooch on this one. It can’t plays PlaysForSure content and the only forward-looking feature, the ability to share music with other Zunes, is crippled with DRM, even if the music is meant to be shared (with, say, a Creative Commons license) — the recipient can only play it three times or for three days, whichever comes first. This is particularly brainless because 1) MS is in a legal sense saying sharing is okay even with its limited terms, setting up a legal fight a la Napster and Grokster; 2) average people will begin to associate this form of sharing with fair use, confusing everything even further; and 3) wrapping the DRM around Creative Commons-licensed content violates the CC license, opening MS up to yet more legal claims by the content creators.

    I’ve also seen a report that the 3 plays/3 days limit also applies to CDs you rip to it, but I can’t believe they could be that stupid. Could they? As a corporation they’ve usually seemed easily blindsided by the culture of actual humans.

    Honestly, it looks like they’re turning into Sony, offering a kind of uncoordinated spasm of features that are undercut by a lack of interdivision incoherency. The Seattle Weekly (the hometown paper) article you refer to makes it sound like they expect to parachute operatives in from high-level planes to colonize the culture on the ground. Reminds me of Sidewalk.

  5. One point I’d like to make is that as evil as the record busienss is, there are still plenty of smart, passionate people working in it.

  6. I beg to differ. There are doubtless a few good people (to paraphrase Ted) in the business, but most of the best are out of the business — musicians who make music because music is what they do, not because they think there’s a big paycheck coming.

    I know this because I’m one of them (home recordist for 25 years, performing much of that time, and the most I’ve made in one piece is $200…which matched my musical income for the ten years previous to that), and I know a lot more of them, including ones who’ve tried to negotiate the rotating knives of The Industry.

  7. There are two sides to the music business: The music distribution industry, and the music production industry. There may be a few decent human beings left in the former, but I’m glad I’m not tasked with finding them.

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