Zune users to be paid for sharing songs?

Zune users to be paid for sharing songs?A recent patent application by Microsoft describes a mechanism whereby Zune users are paid for sharing songs. Currently the company’s digital audio player has the capability to wirelessly swap music with other Zune owners, with the restriction that any shared song can only be played a maximum of three times. After which you’re given the option to buy the track from Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace. In a move designed to encourage sharing — and in turn, sell more music — Microsoft proposes paying users a percentage of revenue from sales generated through tracks they’ve shared.

Zune users to be paid for sharing songs?

But perhaps what’s most interesting is that the system works even if shared songs weren’t originally purchased from Zune Marketplace and, therefore, don’t use Microsoft’s DRM. In other words, DRM-free music that’s been downloaded from elsewhere — including pirated songs — still have the potential to be monetized through Zune to Zune sharing. That’s because, rather presumptuously, the Zune wraps its own DRM around every song that’s shared.

Paying users for sharing tracks that subsequently lead to a purchase is an interesting concept, which at least shows some innovation in terms of how to convert piracy into legitimate music sales. However, with the music industry moving away from DRM and towards universal formats, the idea may have already expired before it ever hits market.

(hat-tip: WindowsMediaBlog)

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

11 Responses to “Zune users to be paid for sharing songs?”

  1. guise says:

    I can get paid for pirated music?

  2. Steve O'Hear (editor) says:

    Sounds like it 😉

  3. Hari says:

    How many users are they talking about? 5?

  4. Jeremy says:

    This will *never* work. Think about it. Without DRM there is no way to tell if an *.mp3 is legal or not.

    If they pay folks for sharing non-DRM’ed stuff, then any fool can get a living out of MS by simply swapping files around on the net. Crazy.

    This proposal, (like most of MS’s stuff), relies on the assumption that everyone will buy their DRM’ed music through a DRM’ed store and that MS will be able to look through your Zune HD and examine files etc. Also, if you read the patent, it says MS is thinking of attaching advertisements on those songs before they allow you to transfer them. Greaatt! *roll eyes*

    So basically this would work in North Korea or some other Nazi-esque country.

  5. Johan S says:

    Is that an iPod ? To me, that looks more like an iPod nano than a Zune.

  6. Michael says:

    @Jeremy: But people do buy DRM music through a DRM store. It’s called iTunes.

  7. Luca says:

    Nice, just I think Microsoft copied a (c) web applications strategy publish a few years ago, and some sites a using a similar strategy. like SaySaid.com

  8. Vote... says:

    The only cool thing about the Zune is sharing songs between Zune users. To bad Micro$oft nerfed the whole thing by restricting those shared uses to 3.

    Dude 1: “Hey duders, what are you guys up too?”

    Dude 2 + 3: “I just downloaded a song from his Zune, for free, wirelessly!”

    Dude 1: “Awesome, I gotta get one of those.”

    Dude 2: “Well, you can only listen to it 3 times.”

    Dude 1: “And you’re excited about this feature because…?”

  9. Phil says:

    Luca is right, I was about to say the same thing. It was a German company iirc. Their patent (assuming they had one) may well be sufficiently general that Microsoft’s could be shown to infringe on it.

  10. Watch TV says:

    That’s actually quite nice, granted they still have DRM and that it only lets you listen to it 3 times, it’s still an improvement and the referral system is a nice change, ITunes would never think about doing this.

  11. Steve says:

    Who will exploit this first?

    _______________
    http://www.FreeOpenMoko.com

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