Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune, made some waves today with his comments on the upcoming plans for the group. The noise made around Zune will only increase as the year marches on toward the next inevitable holiday buying season. More colors, marketing, and features can’t come Zune enough according to Jeremy at Ars Technica. However there is something far more interesting to consider, and to talk about it, we should start with mobile phones and cars (bear with us).
Cingular makes their money when people pay a recurring fee to use their cellular network (although in this case it’s actually Sprint’s network). As such they subsidize the cost of the hardware necessary for you to be connected to that network. City CarShare is a company in the Northern California that enables people to borrow cars. By paying monthly fees along with a small per-hour fee, members can drive shared cars whenever and wherever they choose. Though they are not without their individual downsides, both of these business models satisfy the needs of lots of us.
Why then, couldn’t the same idea be applied to listening to music? This is exactly what Kostas asks at Zune-Online: “Zune for free with a phone-like plan?” Anyone who watches the cost of computing power understands that the cost of hardware has and will always fall. In the future if a music player can be built for a low enough cost, and enough money can be made from the sale of or subscription to content, why not give the player away?