EMI, Microsoft to Team on Zune Video

EMI Group and Microsoft have inked a pact that will see the world’s third-largest music firm provide preloaded music videos for the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant’s much-anticipated Zune digital music player, which is expected to launch before the upcoming holiday season, Reuters reports.

A handful of media reports over recent days suggested that Microsoft was behind schedule on the video aspects of Zune and that it may have to delay the capability past the device’s release. However, the news—which comes from EMI, according to Reuters—suggests those reports may have been unfounded.

U.K.-based EMI said it will offer video from rock band 30 Seconds to Mars—which includes well-known American actor Jared Leto—and British pop band Hot Chip, among others, Reuters reports.

Various sources, including record industry representatives, bloggers and industry websites, have speculated that the two Zune features that will give it an edge over Apple’s uber-popular iPod device are its ability to transfer music files to and from Zune wirelessly and the ability to share content with other Zune users, even if only temporarily.

Microsoft Zune Logo
Microsoft Zune Logo

Jeff Kempler, executive vice president of Virgin Records America, a division of EMI, told Reuters, “Apple has been an important partner in building the digital music market, but any well-funded serious entrant has got to be good news for the artists and industry.”

Apple owns the digital music player and download service space in the United States, but its penetration in Europe—where Creative is the market leader—and in other locations is less dominant.

Microsoft, which confirmed the device’s existence last month and said it will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in its development, was not immediately available to respond to Reuters’ inquiry.

EMI said it thinks its videos will come preinstalled on the Zune player, as well as content from additional record companies, according to Reuters.

Universal is also reportedly in talks with Microsoft to provide content.

Just yesterday, a new photo and previously unannounced details on Microsoft Zune emerged on the Web.

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