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MS takes on iPod via indie music

updated 11:55 am EST, Fri November 3, 2006

MS vs. iPod, indie music

Microsoft is turning to indie music fans as a potential means of dethroning Apple's iPod in the digital music industry. The company is preparing to ship its Zune portable media player on November 14th, and hopes to gain a large following from indie music lovers prior to that date. Bloomberg reports that the Redmond-based company recently invited six well-known individuals from the indie music scene to test drive its forthcoming Zune player, but responses from indie bloggers likely fell short of Microsoft's expectations. "It's really not anything that impressive," said blogger Craig Lile, an Indianapolis-based Web developer who was invited to Microsoft's preview of the Zune player. "They're going to do terribly, at least in the demographic that cares about indie music. Apple is so entrenched in the indie music community.'" Microsoft hopes to break Apple's digital music dominance by appealing to key Web reviewers like Lile, and by sponsoring band tours to attract indie music fans.

by MacNN Staff





  1. madgunde

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Doesn't the iTunes Store have Indie music too? If this is Microsoft's plan to dethrone the iPod/iTunes Store, they'll be waiting a long time. Indie music by definition only caters to a niche market. Using indie music to take down the iPod would be like trying to take down Wal-Mart by opening a bunch of mom and pop shops. Who writes this stuff?

  1. boomer0127

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I love indie rock...

    ...and I support the bands by going to their shows and buying their swag there. Discs are cheaper (no DRM, whatever bitrate I want) and more of the money goes to the band itself (no cut to Apple or other middlemen). Now if iTunes became a label, allowing more $$$ to go to the artist, I'd consider buying the iTunes downloads.

    Although, I just checked my favorite indie band on iTunes and they are selling their first 6 song EP for $4. That's great news!

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why doesn't MS just close shop? My God, how much embarassment can these classified morons inflict on themselves.

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS marketing genius

    The Zune may suck as well as they're music store but MS is going to market them both very well. You're going to see the Zune at concerts, festivals, etc. I don't think Apple has any such affiliations but word of mouth.

    The MS commercials are going to be cool and I'm sure they'll start to chip away.

    The iPod needs a refresh. I have two iPods and instead of buying a third I bought a Sony Ericsson Walkman Phone which rocks. Sure it doesn't have built in support of iTunes but there were free programs that made it simple to update. Plus other features like an FM tuner, voice recorder, and the fact it is a phone. One device for me to take everywhere.

    I use my iPod in the car now and that's about it.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Zune Commercials...

    benhur writes: > The MS commercials are going to be cool and I'm > sure they'll start to chip away.

    Undoubtedly, these are as good as it gets:

    Apparently Microsoft commercial are as good as the products they represent.

    I quote from the commercial: "Nobody cares..."

  1. whackjob

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Dunno folks but the concept of MS + Cool just doesn't click. I will say this, the one thing MS has is the $$$$ to push the product unlike previous competitors.

    However, that being said, there's NOTHING in MS's culture that leads to being hip/cool/must have

    What? Steve Balmer ?

  1. boomer0127

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Those ads were...

    HORRIBLE! Zinkdifferent, can I have my 4-odd minutes back please?

    I for one would like a decent competitor to the iPod to keep Apple on its toes. I thought the M$ juggernaut was based on superior marketing.

    Steeeeerike One! Sheesh.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: hrm

    Dunno folks but the concept of MS + Cool just doesn't click.

    Well, a lot of people think the xbox is cool and a must-have product. So they apparently can do some things well enough.

  1. bigpoppa206

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Music is obviously not one of them. After working for the past 30 years in music oriented towards today's youth all I have to say is, those commercials are horrible!

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Xbox is an interesting one as it is marketed as a brand in itself, not a Microsoft product (like Office or their keyboards and mice). Obviously someone there understood that MS and 'cool' don't go together - although their idea of cool seems to have been Alienware.

    As for indie - I fail to see what MS can bring to the party that emusic doesn't. And emusic is fast outpacing iTunes in that niche.

    I'm also old enough to thing that the whole idea of corporate sponsorship at indie gigs is a bit of an oxymoron, but then it's a style these days, rather than a description of how bands and labels operate.

    It says a lot, however, that MS strategy is to buy their way into the market, rather than delivering a great product that will sell itself (which the iPod did quite well for some time). There is certainly room for other players - there are people out there that won't be seen dead with an iPod because they're now too common - but I am not convinced Microsoft is quite the brand they're looking for.

    Their best bet, to be honest, is probably to go for the mainstream demographic who don't have much product loyalty and a more positive attitude towards big brands.

    The real problem they have is that they don't really have a killer product - the additional features have to be explained to people, which means people aren't actually looking for them. In contrast consider the Shuffle.

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