Shhhh…I’m getting my wife a Zune for Christmas. Seriously, if you know her, don’t tell her. It’s a huge secret. She has no idea it’s coming. The only tiny clue she might use to figure it out is the Fed-Ex box that came when she was home alone that HAD THE WORD ZUNE PLASTERED ACROSS THE FRONT!!! Thanks, Zune shipping guys, really appreciated that one. 🙂
Anywho, today’s idea is a Zune plug-in that downloads a customized selection of new music automagically to your device. I see this as a completely passive, mobile version of a service like Last.fm, Pandora, iLike, etc.. Here’s how this would work. First, you would sign up for an account and answer a few simple questions to get a starting point for the style of music that you might like. The service would then download ten new tracks to your device, using the same “three free plays” approach that Zune uses for sampling shared music. If there is a song that you like, you would then have the option to purchase it. If you don’t like it, or don’t listen to it within a week, the next time you synch your Zune the service would remove those songs and load up more songs that you might enjoy. Of course, the service would track the songs that you purchased vs the songs you didn’t like to further customize the songs that get delivered via the service.
Where’s the monetization? First, if the service takes off and builds a large enough user base, it might be a good acquisition target (MS could build the feature, but might pay for the built-in community, similar to CBS’s $280M deal with Last.fm). The other option might be an affiliate-type fee, where the company would get X% of all recommended songs that ultimately got purchased.
Hmmmm…this got me thinking…how cool would it be to have a Zune or iPod development platform where devs could build music-related apps and plug-ins like this? That would be awesome, like the Facebook platform for music! What do you guys think? Any chance for that in the future, or is it way too small of a niche?