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  #1  
Old 05-13-2009, 02:30 AM
Adam Krebs
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Default New Zune Pass Ad Pushes Subscription Benefits, Misses The Point

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.zunepass.net/' target='_blank'>http://www.zunepass.net/</a><br /><br /></div><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/zt/auto/1242176844.usr495.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>Microsoft's newest Zune ad pushes the cost-benefit savings of using a subscription service over comparable a la carte purchasing option. With the economy in its current state, consumer budgets are tighter than ever. Will this be enough to sway consumers to come to Zune Pass? I don't think so, and here's why:</p><p>Yes, the Zune Pass is a great deal, but these over-simplified arguments aren't convincing anyone. Does anyone actually spend thousands of dollars on music from an online store? Of course not; you rip from CDs, download mixtapes and mp3s, and get friends to send you songs. I remember when the Zune launched, the argument that people weren't deeply entrenched in iTunes DRM (a reason they wouldn't want to switch to Zune) was countered by saying that people spend on average only $20 on music from the iTunes Store.</p><p>My other major issue with these ads is they don't highlight what's so great about Zune Pass. It's not just that you get a ton of music for only a little investment, but that you are truly freed from the limits of a regular music service when you use it. The ability to listen to a song and decide it's not for you, even <em>before you download it</em> is an eye-opening experience. Add in the personalized recommendations, integration with Zune Social (your friends), and 10 song credits a month and this may be enough to make people take a second look at subscriptions.</p>
 
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2009, 02:38 AM
Adam Krebs
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If you can bear a little bit of coarse language, check out Gizmodo's take.
 
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2009, 04:13 AM
Janak Parekh
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Nicely-put, Adam. For some reason, no subscription service knows how to sell themselves. It's a customized radio you can take with you.

--janak
 
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2009, 05:15 AM
Alber1690
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Overall I think it's a step in a better direction. Compared to some of the very random and vague marketing from before, at least the features are starting to be taking center stage. If they push Zune's other features like Zune Originals, FM radio, Wireless connectivity, and the software experience, while highlighting the details well, then this might be the beginning of a better Zune marketing campaign.
 
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:55 AM
David Tucker
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I think its a good ad in that they have to start somewhere. Its such a tough sell. Once people understand what it is they're getting a lot of people realize how great it is. Honestly this service really has a generational gap that it can't overcome. It appeals far more to the younger generations than the older. I would guess if you're over 35 (or probably even 30) then this is a tough sell.

Not because age makes you 'uncool' or anything but simply by that time you probably already DO have a large collection of music. I refused to steal music. Period. So when I got out of college I owned all of 10 CDs. I started with Yahoo's subscription and eventually migrated to the Zune Pass.

Buying music is something that will become a thing of the past. Several of my friends have Zune Passes. Several who don't have expressed interest. The main reason I've heard for not wanting to is "I have a ton of music already, why do I need that?"

Well, you don't. People like me do. And that will be more common as time goes on.
 
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2009, 04:41 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
I think its a good ad in that they have to start somewhere. Its such a tough sell. Once people understand what it is they're getting a lot of people realize how great it is.
My fundamental problem with the ad is it doesn't come even close to explaining that people are getting. It's just "ooo, expensive" vs. "ooo, not expensive". In fact, the ad does not mention the Zune until 20 seconds in (and, technically, they don't even mention the Zune -- they just mention the Zune Pass)! Most people will look at the fact they already have CDs and get confused by the argument.

For what it is worth: Napster tried this exact same argument years ago. In fact, they put out a Superbowl ad. It failed horribly. (This ad is at least catchy and better-done, but it has the same content.)

Quote:
Honestly this service really has a generational gap that it can't overcome. It appeals far more to the younger generations than the older. I would guess if you're over 35 (or probably even 30) then this is a tough sell.
Hey! I'm 31 and I've been using subscription music before it even had PlaysForSure/Zune!

Quote:
Buying music is something that will become a thing of the past. Several of my friends have Zune Passes. Several who don't have expressed interest. The main reason I've heard for not wanting to is "I have a ton of music already, why do I need that?"
I'm not sure I buy that argument. One big problem, and a main reason why I will probably never rely solely on subscription, is that the content is not static. For example, I'm a huge Orbital fan, but the catalog on subscription systems shifts. At one point, Rhapsody had In Sides, and then a month later, it disappeared. In general, the less mainstream music is, the more unreliable subscription services tend to be. I've discovered a lot of interesting but esoteric music via Pandora and my Rhapsody subscription often strikes out and I have to risk buying the CD. So, I end up buying CDs of any music I really like, so that I know I'll be able to listen to it.

That said, I agree that if it's marketed right, subscriptions could be of huge appeal to new graduates and the like. It simply isn't, though, currently.

--janak
 
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2009, 04:57 PM
David Tucker
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For it to be successful the catalogue will have to be as broad as the general available music you can purchase. Its not perfect yet but I've never noticed that happen to my music so I think in general the system works.
 
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2009, 08:05 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Krebs View Post
Yes, the Zune Pass is a great deal, but these over-simplified arguments aren't convincing anyone. Does anyone actually spend thousands of dollars on music from an online store? Of course not; you rip from CDs, download mixtapes and mp3s, and get friends to send you songs.
I disagree with this statement: I don't think they're convincing to the people here - the techies - but to the average user? I think that it resonates - and not because the average user has spent 1000's of dollars on iTunes music, but because paying $15 a month to get access to millions of tracks of music is a compelling feature for some people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Krebs View Post
The ability to listen to a song and decide it's not for you, even before you download it is an eye-opening experience. Add in the personalized recommendations, integration with Zune Social (your friends), and 10 song credits a month and this may be enough to make people take a second look at subscriptions.
Those are harder topics to pitch, but hopefully this is the first of many commercials they'll be doing and they'll explore those benefits as well.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2009, 08:11 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
For what it is worth: Napster tried this exact same argument years ago. In fact, they put out a Superbowl ad. It failed horribly.
Markets change - consumers change. Five years ago only hardcore geeks wanted touch-screen phones. Now everyone is chasing the touch-screen phone market...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janak Parekh View Post
Hey! I'm 31 and I've been using subscription music before it even had PlaysForSure/Zune!
I think David is right in that subscription music resonates with people that don't have big CD collections. People with big CD collections - people like us Janak - care about owning music. To younger people, people who went through their teens awash in the concept that music was "free" and you could find any song you wanted with Napster, Limewire, etc. Music ownership is a very different concept to someone a decade younger than us guys in our 30s.
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2009, 08:16 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Markets change - consumers change. Five years ago only hardcore geeks wanted touch-screen phones. Now everyone is chasing the touch-screen phone market...
It did take a certain unnamed company to popularize it, though. Has Microsoft done the same with subscription music? I'm still unconvinced at their current marketing efforts.

Quote:
I think David is right in that subscription music resonates with people that don't have big CD collections. People with big CD collections - people like us Janak - care about owning music. To younger people, people who went through their teens awash in the concept that music was "free" and you could find any song you wanted with Napster, Limewire, etc. Music ownership is a very different concept to someone a decade younger than us guys in our 30s.
Okay, now I see what you and David mean. That is a very good point.

--janak
 
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