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Zune Singles Have to Be Profitable? Who Knew? November 9, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

Oh man, this is lame. Microsoft is going to nickel-and-dime digital singles sales on Zune.

    Even worse, to buy even a single 99-cent song from the Zune store, you have to purchase blocks of “points” from Microsoft, in increments of at least $5…You must first add points to your account, then buy songs with these points…And the point system is deceptive. Songs are priced at 79 points, which some people might think means 79 cents. But 79 points actually cost 99 cents.

Make no mistake, this is smart — for Microsoft. It’s at least a partial solution to negative margins on 99 cent singles caused by credit card fees. But it feels like an unnecessary burden for consumers. In contrast, the cross-category (games, songs, videos?) marketplace is sweet, and you know I love the wireless try-before-you-buy song sharing, once they get the kinks out. And guest synchronization. And a subscription service.

And Michael, for pete’s sake, paying a few pennies per device to market leader Universal Music isn’t going to alienate any cool kids. Nobody knows what label brand = what artist. Especially since it appears that might have been the only way to get Universal artists (Black Eyed Peas, Beck, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, Kanye West, Keane, Pussycat Dolls, Sonic Youth, etc. etc.) into the Zune store.

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