With Zune, Toshiba Triangulates

mp3players.jpgAn FCC filing announced Friday indicates that the Microsoft Zune is being built by Toshiba. It will feature a 30 GB drive and a wireless connection for song and photo swapping, although early reports indicate that the music-sharing component is, typically for Microsoft, ridiculously restrictive.

According to documents filed Thursday with the FCC, Zune has wireless networking abilities that once turned on, allow people to send and receive photos, as well as “promotional” copies of songs, albums and playlists. It sounds great, but the filing does not define “promotional copies”. I believe it is a term also known as “controlled sharing”, usually involving a few selected songs with a time limit of how long you can keep them.

Two interesting notes here. First, the iPod hard disk has long been built by Toshiba; how do they avoid non-compete problems? Second, the Gigabeat S, Toshiba’s own MP3 player recently beat the iPod in a CNET Prizefight, winning in all categories. So, really, it’s three-pronged dominance for the Japanese behemoth.

BNL Didn’t Get The Memo, Either


Barenaked Ladies, in anticipation of “Barenaked Ladies Are Me” on September 12, has put 3 songs up for sale on their website. Not news, you say? Haven’t you ever heard of iTunes? OK, I know there are childless, houseless, underpaid twentysomethings with time on their hands, who can surf the net like it’s their own private Mavericks, but hey, bear with me.

The news is that Nettwerk Records is releasing each song as a 16 piece set. The producer’s building blocks. The basic tracks. And holding a contest for the best remix. Eventually, Nettwerk plans to release EVERY SINGLE SONG from the record this way.

Artists have played around with this, offering slightly-opened up music for fans to play with (David Bowie, Beck), but this is the new gold standard. It’s also a pretty nifty way to persuade fans to pay for music.

Finally, it’s a surefire way to involve hardcore fans and recruit new ones. Each song produces a groundswell of interest that will only help BNL when they tour.