updated 10:30 am EST, Fri January 19, 2007
Music Labels Cripple Zune
Key major music labels have explicit control over the songs they allow to be shared through the Zune's signature Wi-Fi sharing, Cliczune has discovered. Investigating the results of a test by fellow enthusiasts Zunerama, the site revealed that many songs by major Universal and Sony-BMG artists, including Jay-Z and Beyonce, will not transfer between Zunes despite the three-day/three-play DRM protection added to every shared track. The limitation is not absolute and allows some artists' content to copy, Cliczune notes, suggesting that the restrictions are controlled individually based on popularity or artist demands.
Such restrictions have fostered particularly harsh criticism from Zune owners, as the limits compound already arbitrary licensing agreements Microsoft has made to guarantee access to key labels' catalogs. Both Microsoft and Universal were previously shown to have signed a royalty deal which saw the latter receive an automatic $1 royalty per Zune regardless of the origin of a user's music. The label CEO previously hinted that he believed all digital music players to be homes for stolen music.