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.)

7 thoughts on “Real. Zune. Now.”

  1. OMFG! Did anyone follow the link to those Zune ads? WTF?!

    Observations:

    * The people in the ads using the Zune generally don’t strike me, at least, as “cool”. They tend to be rather unattractive, un-hip, and kind of trailer park-ish. I neither relate to them, nor wish to emulate them.

    * I see lots of break-dancing and people looking very hardcore hip-hop or skater-ish in the background. But the music playing sounds more like something a baby boomer might listen to while wearing an L.L. Bean outfit with a knit sweater tied around their neck.

    * You hardly see anyone actually using a Zune, and when you do, it seems like one of those ads for potato chips or some other similar product where people on the street are asked at random to check out a new product. They don’t seem particularly impressed either.

    * The only ad that came close to being effective was the “snow” video because a) it actually shows some cool people who I might wish to hang with and b) they aren’t at any sort of music-related event where it’s painfully obvious that the music playing in the ad doesn’t match the style of music likely playing at the event.

    I am impressed at Microsoft’s ability to release the lamest product ever in conjunction with the lamest marketing campaign, ever.

  2. Thanks to J.D.’s trackback above from his Miscellaneous Flotch blog, this entry has become one of the top hits when searching for “Zune sucks” in search engines. (Ahh, immortality is mine.) Consequently I’ve updated this entry with a little more content since originally posting it.

    Honestly, I was just having a little fun at the Zune’s expense: As you can tell from all the links, most of the points weren’t even mine to start with. I am a croggled at just how easy poking fun at the Zune and its marketing campaign has been; there are more “what were they thinking?” moments than with any recent product launch I can think of. This doesn’t mean the Zune is a bad product (I’ve never used one), or that it won’t be successful (who knows?), just that there’s amusement to be had here, and by gum I’m going to have some.

    If you’re looking for someone who really rips into the Zune, try Andy Ihnatko’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times.

  3. Wow it is really official. If there is anything that is going to put microsoft out of buisness this is the shit brown it. I don`t happen to own a iPod or much less a zune (I`d get shoved into a locker just for that) but with me sitting here hoping that the zune might drive a hard ax into iPod sales so I could get a cheap iPod if apple felt like slightly lowering there prices but noooooooo looks like I`m SOL. Even a scratched up 4th gen iPod looks more appealing to me. Microsoft stick to computers and try to make them compatable with your products.

  4. You’re all missing the point on why the Zune really sucks: It’s just one giant appeasement to a recording industry that has such loathing and contempt for its own customers that people like Dough Morris can make statements such as the one above with complete abandon.

    It adds DRM to EVERY song you put on it, even ones you created yourself.

    Songs that you send to another Zune (assuming you can FIND one to send songs to) automatically self-destruct after 3 days, and can NEVER be sent to that other Zune again. And, that other Zune is unable to send those songs to anyone else. So much for the ‘social networking’ aspect.

    The Zune can be told to restrict your access to its music files, or erase them altogether, without your knowledge or consent, completely at Microsoft’s discretion. And seeing how easily they’ve bent over for the recording industry so far…

    Plus, this same industry now gets a cut of the money from every Zune sold. Why continue to give money to people who openly despise you? That’s about like being gangraped and simply saying “Thank you sir may I have another”

  5. Observations:

    * The people in the ads using the Zune generally don’t strike me, at least, as “cool”. They tend to be rather unattractive, un-hip, and kind of trailer park-ish. I neither relate to them, nor wish to emulate them.

    Probably because people who love Microshit (and defend it all the time) are trailer trashes? 😉

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