May 10, 2007

Is your music personal or social?

A few days back I was at the doctor’s clinic with 2 others - a guy and a girl. While the 2 girls had no problem chatting away for the 2 hours preceding the doctor's arrival, the guy was bored with no newsprint in sight. Out of courtesy we occasionally chatted with him. On one such occasion girl 2 told guy 1 - you should have carried your iPod. I peeped into my bag to see if i had mine...I did...I shut my bag. A pause later I asked him hesitantly - I have could have it if you like. He paused and that is alright! I was relieved.

Between the moments of my asking and his refusing, I was hoping he'd say NO. I don't know why - but it felt like I would be exposing a personal part of my life by handing over my iPod to him, though when i think about it logically, it only has my music files on it. It’s not without reason they decided to call it 'I'- Pod

Contrasting this with the Zune trying to create a 'social' - around the concept of listening to music I wonder how many people would be willing to share their music (via wifi) with strangers?
Even assuming one would come across another Zune owner in the vicinity - would it not be difficult to judge what his taste in music would be, to be able to decide which song to beam across to him? Would one not feel silly about sending in the 'wrong' kind of music?

Or was it not supposed to be a 'social' of strangers in the first place. Was it supposed to be friends introducing each other to music and thereby 'discovering' new tracks? Then why call it a ‘social’? The imagery that a social conjures up is of a large gathering of college kids, not really an intimate meeting of close friends.

It’s difficult to judge whether what's gone wrong with the Zune marketing is just a wrong choice of words or a larger issue of not getting the behavioral aspect around music listening right. But something surely is amiss and what’s more - even 6 months after launch people are talking about the same issues that users encountered when the product was just launched. But then again Microsoft was never known for being responsive to consumers.

On doing a blog search on Zune – I felt like I had walked into a soap opera – even if you tune into it after 6 months – you don’t hear anything new. The only thing different I read was the news about iPod launching their wifi enabled devices in the course of the year. It would be interesting to watch how they market this feature - if they decide to make a noise about it at all that is.

P.S – I did a random image search on the iPod to see what comes up. It’s interesting to view the range of situations in which iPod users interact with their devices – None of it seems like a social!

, ,


lilfern said...

Interesting..just finished reading an article in RD (what else:)) about how humans as a species are getting more and more individualised - as in with technology - everything can be tailor made and fit to size. Interaction and sharing is not part of the game as far as defining a posture for oneself is concerned. Consider Blogs - are'nt they mostly very person centred media bulletins? Like a person's very own newspaper where he/she decides what needs to be spoken about. In fact I feel that even the social dimensions of blogging are very individualised - you need to be known by who you read, who reads you, who finds you interesting etc.
And as far as music is concerned - I remember a few years back there was this peer sharing website (forget its name!!!) which allowed users to download files from each other - people still could choose what they wanted to listen to - and availability and free download was the key there too...

SusanA said...

Fascinating. Love the analogy to a soap opera.
It feels like more of a 'friend' thing than a 'meet a stranger' thing. Mostly when you see people with their headphones on, they seem to be blocking OUT social contact, not engaging in it.