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Zunelicious

Zunelicious is a blog that covers Microsoft's new Zune MP3 player, and all the news that goes along with it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What will it like to be an early adopter of the Zune?

Most likely, it will be tough...everyone will want to see your Zune at first and marvel at the fact that you don't have an iPod, but most likely you will find few fellow Zunesters to share music with early on. This is one of my fears about picking a Zune up day one...Wired happens to have a preatty neat article up that talks about why the Zune won't kill the iPod, that touches on many of my fears about the social aspects of the Zune.

3. Wi-Fi song sharing will not catch on in public.

"The Zune's only original feature is Wi-Fi song sharing, which will allow Zune owners to search for others nearby and temporarily trade songs over the air. Traded tunes will be playable up to three times over three days, and can be flagged on the player for later purchase online. Otherwise they disappear.

But while it's obvious that sharing songs will be fun with friends at school or college, it's not an activity that will take off in public. It'll largely be confined to peer groups.

How do I know this? Because that's what's happening with iTunes music sharing, which does more or less the same thing with a computer over a network, instead of peer-to-peer.

Think of the typical experience with iTunes at the office or conferences. Instead of finding all kinds of cool new bands, you marvel at the dreadful taste of your co-workers.

Granted, offices and conferences aren't the best feeding grounds, but where is? There are no hip cafes or bars that I know forging reputations for being good places to hang out and browse other peoples' music libraries.

Will this happen wirelessly with the Zune? Will teenagers gather at the mall or the park to share tunes, sitting around quietly with their headphones on?

I don't see it. It will happen at concerts and clubs where like-minded music lovers will share music they already know they like -- and it'll be kinda awkward and nerdy. Remember swapping business cards with your Palm Pilot via infrared?

And while it might be interesting to take a sneak peek at what the thug at the back of the bus is listening to, it won't be a great strategy for discovering new music. There just won't be enough Zune users around.

The only place I can think of in the United States where the Zune might be good for browsing others' music is on an airplane. But will the airlines allow wireless song sharing mid-flight?

Plus, iTunes shows that many people are so self-conscious of their music collections, they will turn off sharing altogether or carefully prune their library to present themselves in the best possible light.

Wi-Fi song sharing will be more about managing your image in public than sharing music.

But of course, for a lot of people, that's the point: Music-clerk types will show off their bona fides by loading their Zune with obscure indie bands, while the rest of us will be frantically deleting treasured show tunes for fear of looking ridiculous."

Take a look at the full article, it's a good read.

http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,71896-0.html?tw=rss.index

-Charlie
posted by zunelicious, 4:04 AM

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