Real. Zune. Now.

Assorted links and observations about Microsoft’s Zune music player.

There are early reports that Microsoft’s Zune music player is now available in the wild.

Wow, they really did ship the shit-brown players. Until now, I didn’t quite believe that they’d actually do it.

Does the Zune’s slogan “Welcome To The Social” make anyone else’s head hurt?

The best thing about that link is not just the fact that he got an error trying to install the Zune software, but the picture that accompanies the error! And he’s not the only one. (Is that photo Not Safe For Work? Close call. Exercise caution if in doubt.)

While watching football yesterday, I saw an honest-to-gosh Zune advertisement. It baffled me. A friend of mine has joked that all television ads should come with a Gilbert Gottfried voice-over explaining what the product is. (“It’s a car!” “It’s a feminine hygiene product!” “It’s a digital music player!”) This campaign could use some of that.

It could use less of this sort of thing. What in the world were they thinking when they prepared that photo? Then there are some of the bizarre “ads” done by third parties for the on-line campaign, such as the eyeball one or the flaming birds one. Again, what the–?!?

For that matter, what does the name “Zune” mean? Even the Wikipedia entry doesn’t shed any light on the meaning of the name. Is it a portmanteau of “tune” and some other word (“zoom”, maybe?), or what?

Anyway. In addition to all that, if you’ve previously bought music from the MSN Music or some other Plays For Sure-based store, then you may be SOL trying to transfer it to your Zune:

In a statement a Microsoft spokesperson said: “Since Zune is a separate offering that is not part of the Plays For Sure ecosystem, Zune content is not supported on Plays For Sure devices.”

I’m not a serious industry watcher, but the Zune sure smells to me like a product which was designed and built by several disparate departments. The product and marketing campaign have that feel of “several ideas – both good and bad – forced together through a series of unfortunate compromises”.

In related news, it’s nice to know the music industry loves its customers:

“These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,” UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris says. “So it’s time to get paid for it.”

(Via b.bum, whose response is also worth reading.)