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Windows Mobile 7 Incorporates Zune


There have been many rumors about the Zune being recreated into a phone.  At this point, it is more than safe to say that it ain't happening.  However, lately Microsoft has been focusing on the Zune as a software platform as well, and more than "just" a handheld device.

The newest rumor is that Zune will be incorporated into the Windows Mobile 7 platform.  The downside is that this newest mobile OS will likely make its debut in 2010, hopefully in the first half.  This means that there will be a wait to getting this in consumer's hands.  The upside is that this may entice more users to purchase Windows Mobile phones which have traditionally fared better for enterprise use than average consumers.

I personally like the sound of this strategy.  If there is a way to get the Zune platform into more users hands, this could be a good way as smartphones penetrate more.  Imagine how awesome it would be to be able to use your Zune pass with streaming via a 3G network!  Not to mention how social we could be if we weren't limited to WiFi exchanges.  This is the forward thinking that is called for, and hopefully this will be implemented up to its full potential.

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Zune Replaces Satellite For One User

Best_satellite_radio Satellite radio has always looked like a needless expense to me.  With radio available for free OTA, and mp3 players galore, why would anyone pay another monthly expense?  Especially in these tough economic times, with cell phone bills going up to cover wireless web and text messaging, and ever increasing cable bills, there is a limit to what consumers will pay for entertainment.  Apparently, at least one consumer reached their limit:

Frankly, I've been listening to Sirius Online less and less with the passage of time. I've got a formidable library of network-stored music ripped from the CDs I own. My Microsoft Zune subscription streaming-and-download service (which includes 128 different online streamed channels) provides additional music content. And there are plenty of other low-to-no cost (i.e. advertising-supported) online streamed music sources around, such as Pandora. Anyway, I have little confidence that Sirius will still be a viable business entity a year from now, far from two or three. So this morning I decided to just go ahead and cancel my Sirius service, in advance of Wednesday's Online cut-off.

Personally this is a no brainer to me.  A Zune Pass subscription offers a lot more value for a month than satellite radio does.  Choosing the Zune for those on a budget is an easy choice, and owning your own music and just playing it from the Zune is still a cost effective entertainment option.

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Zune Searches For New Canadian Music Talent


One thing that the Zune has tried to foster is the social experience of music.  After all, much of our musical taste is based upon what others around us listen to.  This is the so called "social" aspect of the music experience.

Along that vein, Zune Canada is sponsoring a concert to discover a new Canadian band.  To do that, they are sponsoring the Zune Concert Series.  Here are some details:

We’re scouring the country in search of Canada’s best, undiscovered band. When found, we will offer them a once in a lifetime opportunity – the chance to play live in front of 10,000 people during the Zune Concert Series in Whistler, BC. They will also receive a unique mentorship with influential Canadian music industry representatives such as A&R reps, producers and agents through Zune.  The grand prize winner will receive a trip for up to five band members to the Zune Concert Series at the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC.

Along with that, the fortunate winning group will get a Zune mentorship.  This provides them with some valuable "face time" with influential Canadian music industry represntatives. 

Those that play the radio better than a musical instrument also have the opportunity to win a trip for two to the festival.  along with the prize, the lucky winners will get VIP passes, overnight accommodations, and keeping with the theme, a pair of Zunes.  Let the squirting begin...

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New Zune Advertising Campaign

No sooner does Crispin get the go ahead to remake the Zune ads to try and ratchet up the cool factor (not to mention the Zune price cuts), but we're already seeing the theme of the new advertising.  Hey, around here we all knew that the Zune is the way to go, however, I have to say that the marketing was underselling the product IMHO.  This new ad campaign is showing off the Zune as a "Music Discovery Machine," and invite folks to download the new 3rd gen software (which I have installing as I type this, gotta love dual core processors)!  With the social aspect of the Zune one of the main selling point, I'm glad to see that they are finally doing a better job of getting the message out.

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A Couple of Free Tracks....Literally

Base_imageI'm hardly a big Counting Crows fan, but I do enjoy rock, and I wanted to pass along the opportunity to acquire two tracks from this group, free for the downloading (only 9000 more and my Zune 80 will be full).  The two tracks are "1492," and "I Dream of Michelangelo."  They're both mp3 files, encoded at the 128 kbps, which makes them medium quality.  I'm not sure this how long this is going to last, but while the "1492" track is too loud for my taste, the other one suits me just fine. 


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Vote for the Zune on the WSJ!

This is a poll that started two days ago, and I've just found out about it on Zune Boards. It's on the Wall street Journal's website, and it's a poll for the Items you are most likely to purchase as a gift for Christmas. If you enjoy using a Zune, which most, if not all of you do, then vote here for it, because those ifans have crazy numbers for the iPhone and iPod already on the poll.

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Exclusive Ladytron's Remix EP on the Zune Marketplace

Zune_music_dowloadAfter partnering with Mims on their last tour, Zune is doing it again with Ladytron. They are sponsoring the tour of the Liverpool band.

But the Zune marketplace also has an exclusive Ladytron's Soft Power Remix EP for you to download now. Check it out!

I have to admit I had serious doubts about the marketing strategy behind the Zune, but things have been changing a lot lately. Do you see a trend coming from the Zune team as we speak? The pink Zune special edition, the Zune-Halo 3, Music exclusivities from famous artists and labels. The Zune wants to be cool and wants to do cool things too. And I seriously begin to think that there doing it right! It's like if suddenly they were doing the right moves one at the time.

Let's hope that the upcoming software upgrade, the second generation Zune and the flash Zune will continue in the same trend.

Are we beginning to feel the magic touch of J Allard?

via Zuneinsider

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DRM Free Music From EMI on

Zune_drm_free will finally open an online music store and yes, it will be DRM free. The company confirmed the move that had recently been rumoured.

Without giving any precise timetable, Amazon said that the music store would be online "later this year".

Amazon will offer EMI Music and about 12 000 other music labels in MP3 formats to its customers. The company will then become the second online store to offer EMI's catalog without DRM's hassle.

Apple was the first to announce the availability of DRM free content from EMI on iTunes Store earlier this year. Microsoft followed by saying they will eventually make the same move but no plans have been revealed so far.

No pricing information is available for now. But iTunes is offering the DRM Free songs for 30% more than the original locked music files available at $0.99. It would be surprising to see Amazon undercutting Apple at this point. Indeed, introducing to most expensive music store on the market is also not option for them. We will have to wait and see if they can innovate and bring a new attractive economic model to the fast evolving market of digital media.

This announcement will certainly add even more pressure on Universal, Sony BMG, and Warner's shoulders.

Via PCworld

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Download Music for Your Zune for Free

There is still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the legality of international and domestic music downloads. RIAA’s litigation strategy has created a blanket presumption of downloading fear that may not be entirely justified. There is not that many websites that offers a guaranteed free legal service. Here’s a list of the ones we have seen. You have a suggestion to make? Please add a commnent. A cool blog-style listing of free MP3-Zune compatible songs offered by record artists and labels. They are giving the tracks as a teaser for sell the album to you. You like an artist? Buy the album also!

Amazon Free Music Downloads: Find an interesting mix of mainstream and independent artists, available for free in Zune-compatible MP3 format. Musicians also have the ability to upload and share their songs.

Emusic This one is not free but it is cheap. The site has over 2M songs in their database. Most of them are independent artists. eMusic has a free two-week trial period.

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AOL-Music Now is Dead!

Aolmusicnow“AOL has named Napster exclusive supplier of subscription music for its AOL Music site, and plans to migrate all 350,000 paid accounts away from the existing service, AOL Music Now, over the next 60 days.”

“Unless they opt out of the move, existing Music Now customers will be able to use the Napster service for the same fee they pay now, and their existing login and payment details and any prepaid credits will be retained, AOL said.”

This reinforce the idea, backed by David Caulton that online music provider needs to be linked with exclusive mp3 player. The real money seems to be coming from selling the hardware and not the music itself. Standalone online music websites may be facing a challenge that can’t be overcome as we know it right now. This may be a part of the reason why Universal did everything they could to get a royalty on every Zune sold and are also planning to go after the iPod. The news came only a week after the Virgin Digital announced the merge of their service with Napster

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