What’s so special about Microsoft’s new Zune media player? It’s another iPod killer, right? That’s not so special.
What’s special is Microsoft’s Zune deal with Universal Music. Does it mean it’s OK to steal music the old fashioned way?
Here’s the deal. For every Zune media player that Microsoft sells, they give money to Universal Music (a big one of the big five music distributors).
Universal, in turn, will allow Microsoft to sell Universal music on the Zune online store, and on each Zune player.
Microsoft didn’t have a choice. They needed Universal Music more than Universal needed Microsoft.
The deal means that Universal gets money for each Zune player sold and that sets the stage for a similar attack on Apple in future record company contract negotiations.
In the end, we’ll pay more money for music and players.
The record companies will get profit from each player sold, half of which may go to artists.
Why are they doing this? Greed is one reason.
Do oil companies share profits with auto makers?
Do clothes washer makers share profits with soap makers for the privilege of putting soap in their machines?
Here’s the deal. Universal’s CEO, Doug Morris, says iPod (media players) users are thieves and charging player manufacturers is one way to get paid for their music.
What he’s saying is that people steal music, put the music on their media players, such as iPods, and the record companies can charge player manufacturers a “tax” of sorts, as due compensation.
Fair enough. I own two iPods. How about if I slip a couple of one dollar bills into an envelope and send it to Apple, or, better yet, direct to Doug Morris at Universal Music?
Now I’m fully paid and licensed to acquire music however I want, right? I can choose an online store to purchase music that comes with restrictions on which player I use.
Or, I can search online and acquire digital music another way, not pay a penny for anything. Why? Because I’ve already paid for my rights acquire music.
Apple’s successful business model has produced tens of millions of iPod and iTunes customers who buy music legitimately; online and as CDs.
Our reward for doing so? A “Universal Tax” from UMG and other greedy recording companies.
Some will acquire their music the old fashioned way. They’ll steal it online and from friend’s CDs, then store it on their iPods, and Zunes, and whatever music players.
I guess that’s appropriate and acceptable in today’s new economy. After all, the new “Universal Tax” means it’s OK, right?