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Old 11-03-2007, 09:30 PM
Adam Krebs
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Default Zune Pass: A Sheep In Wolves' Clothing

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.zunerama.com/articles_023.php#071102_zune2_story' target='_blank'>http://www.zunerama.com/articles_023.php#071102_zune2_story</a><br /><br /></div><p>&quot;<em>Here's the hypothesis: once a household has a single Zune with a Zune Pass... it becomes a great motivator for other household members to choose Zune players over any other player. The reasoning, of course, is that by &quot;going Zune&quot;, those follow-on household members not only get a great little media player, they get <u>unlimited music to load on that player</u>.</em>&quot;<br /><br /></p><p><a href="http://www.ZuneJourney.net"><img border="1" src="http://www.zunerama.com/graphics/zune-commercial-01.jpg" alt="Zune Journey's opening screen (captured by Harvey from Zunerama)" /></a><br /></p><p>Harvey from Zunerama raises an interesting point. Families that purchase a Zune and a <a href="http://www.zune.net/en-us/meetzune/zunepass.htm" target="_blank">Zune Pass</a> are more likely to be repeat/multiple buyers, simply because of the convenience, the familiar experience, and, oh, the vendor lock-in. Now where have we heard that argument before? </p><p>It's really a shame to have to think of it that way, but it's true. Microsoft's announcement that the new Marketplace will <a href="http://zunerama.com/forum/index.php?topic=6589.0" target="_blank">up the number</a> of authorized Zunes per Pass from 2 to 3 is undoubtedly a good thing. Families can save money by a) using the subscription and avoiding a la carte services and b) reducing the number of subscription-enabled accounts, but do you really want your dad's bluegrass collection (or your son's latest &quot;Soulja Boy&quot; track) to show up on your perfectly primmed <a href="http://www.zunethoughts.com/news/show/23180/the-zune-yeah-its-social.html" target="_blank">Social</a> page? This'll be especially true when Microsoft follows Napster/Rhapsody in allowing you to access your library from anywhere via the web.<br /></p><p>Even when sharing an account, converting your family and friends to the Social is completely in Microsoft's interest. The money they lose through familial account sharing is more than made up through extra device sales and repeat business. One of the key draws of Zune is of course its wireless sharing ability. This feature is completely useless without another Zune owner with whom I can share<a target="_self" href="http://www.zunethoughts.com/news/show/23380/1#note">*</a>, and thus it's in my interest to get my friends to buy Zunes so I can swap songs with them. Also, I'm all but guaranteed to make my next purchase a Zune if the aforesaid conditions are met and I have a significant stake in my Marketplace-acquired content. Sure, tracks downloaded from the Marketplace will work on PlaysForSure devices (at least for now...who knows what DRM the new ecosystem will use), but P4S is a dying breed, and I highly doubt we'll be seeing a surge of new P4S players anytime soon.<br /></p><div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;"> </span></div>I listen to a lot of music. For me and others afflicted with Chronic Music Discovery Syndrome, purchasing tracks individually is prohibitively expensive, and a subscription is truly the way to go. We CMDS sufferers realize that our way not the best for everyone. We tend to be more tech-inclined than the mass market, and are thus more accepting of the limitations of a subscription&mdash;namely the lack of a tangible/sustainable product. My pitch to friends about subscription services reads exactly as you've seen a thousand times.<em> </em><p> </p><p><em><strong>Me:</strong> So you can download an unlimited number of songs from a library of millions for the cost of one CD per month. If you think about it, iTunes charges $1 per track, and I download <u>way</u> more than 10/15 tracks in that month, so I'm saving a ton of money.**<br /><strong> Them:</strong> That's awesome!<br /><strong> Me:</strong> Yeah, the only catch is that &quot;when you stop paying, the music stops playing.&quot;<br /><strong> Them:</strong> Oh. I'll just stick with Limewire/Torrents/The-400-Songs-I've-Had-For-The-Last-Decade</em></p><p> </p><div id="note"><em><strong>Article Notes:</strong></em><br /></div><a target="_self" href="http://www.zunethoughts.com/news/show/23380/0/1/2"> *</a>It's called the &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect" target="_blank">network effect</a>&quot;, and also applies to telephones, fax machines, P2P, and e-mail. The second part, getting my friends to join, requires them to find usefulness in my sharing music with them. I think that given a comparable &quot;ecosystem&quot; experience, Zune's sharing <u>will</u> push it ahead of the iPod, provided it's <em>valuable</em> to the consumer. This chicken-and-egg problem requires a strong base, mostly through word-of-mouth and other marketing. The iPod had/has a benefited from similar bandwagoning, but with commonality through accessories and filetypes.<br />**This is typical marketing rhetoric. I don't &quot;save&quot; anything, because I would never purchase thousands of songs at $1 apiece. It's the Wal-Mart effect in full-force: creating a &quot;need&quot; where one previously did not exist. This is the same way that Microsoft &quot;loses&quot; money when you share a Zune Pass (I even used this in paragraph 3, and didn't catch it until now) or the RIAA &quot;loses&quot; money from P2P. <br /><p> </p>
 
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:14 PM
jdmountford
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I can speak to this scenario fron an educated user stand point as, not only do I have a Zune, but so does my 12 year old daughter. We both are music people. We love our Zunes. I was so psyched when I got my Zune for father's day that a month later I went out and got my daughter one. I signed up for the Pass the same day that I got my Zune. Now the great thing is that we have the Zune Desktop Software loaded on Multiple Computers. I have one Pass, but my daugher can have her own music on the computer that she uses and then load that to her Zune. I have my music on my laptop and my Zune. We rarely share over the air but ocassionaly I will hook my Zune to the home computer (the one she uses) or she will plug her Zune into my laptop to charge. The computers recognize the Zune's are different and will not just start dumping our libraries on each other's Zunes. It is the perfect thing.

I had to call Zune tech support the other day. (nothing bad, I needed help canceling my subscription so that I could use some promotional cupons. One I am out I will go back to paying.) the guy was great. I told him that I wish I could use more Zunes on a single pass and he told me that when the new Zunes release I can have three now instead of two!! I am thrilled! Gues what my wife is getting for Christmas?! A ZUNE! We will replace her crappy Apple Nano with a Pink Zune. We will be able to all use one Pass and have a common interface! Right now I have to take music that the wife likes and convert it either to a CD or to iPod compatiple formats for her to listen to. It is a huge PITA! I can't wait for her to be able to sit down and use the Zune Software that we will all be familiar with to get whatever music she wants on her own device!

So does Microsoft have a marketing plan with the Zune Pass and Market PLace and Suscription based service? Hell yeah they do, but I for one am happy as is my daughter! I would never go to a different device. And I am very much looking forward to the updates later this month.
 
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:15 AM
Adam Krebs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdmountford View Post
Now the great thing is that we have the Zune Desktop Software loaded on Multiple Computers. I have one Pass, but my daugher can have her own music on the computer that she uses and then load that to her Zune. I have my music on my laptop and my Zune. We rarely share over the air but ocassionaly I will hook my Zune to the home computer (the one she uses) or she will plug her Zune into my laptop to charge. The computers recognize the Zune's are different and will not just start dumping our libraries on each other's Zunes. It is the perfect thing.

That sounds really cool, and precisely why the Zune Pass is such a great idea. The Zune subscription service in its current form lends itself perfectly to splitting amongst several family members for hassle-free media downloading and management. The only thing I'm really concerned about (besides from the lock-in) is that the new features (Social and beyond) will see these three Zunes/computers as a single user, and won't allow online libraries or Social profiles to be split off into their own personal accounts.

I really wish they had some way to make a "family pass", where 3 or 4 or 5 accounts can live on one bill, at a cost of maybe $20 a month. That way, the family members can still save money, but they'll each have their own recommendations on the Marketplace and all the other cool features we know are coming.
 
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