I thought I’d heard all the complaints about the heavily touted Wi-Fi music sharing feature of Microsoft’s Zune personal media player (“Welcome to the social”). Aside from the difficulty of finding another Zune owner to be social with, the tunes you “squirt” (Microsoft’s approved terminology) to others are restricted to 3 plays in 3 days, whichever comes first. Now it turns out that there is yet another inhibitor to squirting fun:
It appears Sony Music and Universal Music Group are marking certain artists of theirs as “prohibited” for sharing, meaning that just because you’ve paid for a song, and even managed to find another Zune user on the planet Earth, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get to beam that JoJo track to another Zune via WiFi magics. In a non-scientific sampling of popular artists by Zunerama and Zune Thoughts, it looks like it’s roughly 40-50 percent of artists that fall under this prohibited banner, and the worst news is that there’s no warning that a song might be unsharable until you actually try to send it and fail. Oh well, maybe you can just hum a few bars or something — just make sure the labels don’t hear you!
I guess Microsoft left the flashing green dollar sign off the tunes list interface. Of course the best part is that the Universal Music Group is scoring a tax on every Zune sold.