Thus far, Microsoft hasn’t had too much luck digging into the iPod market with the Zune, but this may change soon, at least a little. A patent application recently filed reveals that owners of the Zune will be able to get paid for sharing their music. Not a bad deal, right?

Currently users are able to share songs with other Zune users and the recipient of the shared songs is able to listen to the song for three times before they must purchase it if they still want to listen to it.

Zune patent diagram

The new Zune would mean that everybody with a Zune would be able to “sell” songs to other Zune users and in turn get commission for the sale. Microsoft was thinking with this one, they’ll instantly have thousands of salespeople working for them.

Another way to look at it is that it’s one way for the recording industry to make money off of pirated music because the system will still work with songs that weren’t originally purchased from the Zune Marketplace. For example, if I had an illegally downloaded song on my Zune and I shared it with a friend, they could go and purchase the same song from the Zune Marketplace. And because the recording industry will get money from the purchase made at the Zune Marketplace, it’s a win-win situation.