This is What is Wrong with the Music Industry

We all know the music industry is a mess … I offer no advice other than don’t assume I am a criminal. According to Universal CEO Doug Morris us iPod and non-Zune owners are thieves, “These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it’s time to get paid for it.” Jeez, talk about loving your customers. I don’t steal music hard as it may be to believe … I know all to well the deep dark corner I have painted myself in as it relates to DRM trapped music. At the end of the day I feel ok with it only because it is legal, easy, and the right thing to do. The fact that Microsoft is handing Universal a piece of the action every time someone buys a Zune seems to make stealing music ok. UMG is expected to receive more than $1 for each $250 device … Just a bit screwed up and could set a dangerous precedent.

Once upon a time I made software (and I guess given what ETS does I still do in many ways) and I never wanted people to just rip it off. I got a paycheck every month that was supported in part by the sales of this software. Sometimes we’d find out that a company would purchase a license and then put the software across the organization … that always made us feel terrible. I never would come out and say “all computers are repositories for stolen software and we all know it!” Doug, here’s the deal, if the music you produced didn’t suck so bad more people would see value in it … I think the whole industry is a disaster, but I love music and it is a part of who I am so I am going to continue to show up at the party.

Like my good friends the Grateful Dead say, “Law come to get you if you don’t walk right.” Assuming I am criminal makes me feel bad.

The Podcast About My Zune

Now that I have had the Zune for a whole day the true nature of it is starting to become apparent.  Not that I don’t like it … I’m not a huge fan, but it isn’t bad.  I haven’t had a chance to test what I feel is the most compelling aspect of it, the social networking capabilities.  The device itself is an MP3 player that, to me, doesn’t evoke an emotional response on any level.  It is a device that is a utility … no statements or anything, just a device.

I do like the hardware, it is the software that is a real pain for me.  Maybe it is because I am so comfortable with the iTunes and iPod integration, but it just doesn’t speak to me.  Having to log into all those damn Microsoft accounts just to purchase Zune Points is really something that I am not interested in.  It is so clear to me now just how much of an advantage Apple has when it comes to the user experience related to the software/hardware integration.  I wonder how someone who doesn’t like Apple feels?  I am sure the Zune is so much better for so many people, but this is my space and that is my impression.  At the end of the day it is a good device and honestly only the second non-Apple MP3 player I have owned.  Before my iPod I had a Rio … I felt the same about that as I do the Zune.  It works, but nothing else.  At least the Rio connected to iTunes.

So I sat down and recorded some thoughts about the device yesterday and tried to give a balanced report — a lot like Fox News 😉 … I also sat down with a few ETS people and got their reactions.  Keep in mind this is the first time I have ever tried to create a podcast like this — just me editing a lot of stuff together.  It may be annoying, but I am trying to get better at this.  At any rate, here is a link to the ETS Special Edition Zune podcast at Penn State on iTunes U.  Thoughts?

Zune is Now Here

Every morning I read a ton of feeds from both the tech industry and higher education blogs. For about a week and a half now most of the posts I have been reading coming out of the tech industry has been about the Microsoft Zune. Yesterday I was able to see one in person. Firing it up and seeing the interface actually surprised me — it was decent. I instantly tried to scroll the wheel, but was reminded that it doesn’t work that way — strike one. I am now amazed at how well that interface works for finding music on the iPod. The Zune has a good form factor, albeit a little big, but nice. The screen has great real estate and pops nicely. The feature that seemed to get the most “ahh factor” were the headphones ability to stick together to help reduce tangling. That is a good idea, but isn’t that big of a deal. Details make a device though.

Continue reading