When Microsoft’s Zune first launched, the phrase “three days or three plays, whichever comes first” described part of the digital rights management that Microsoft imposed.  It meant that if users transferred audio content between Zune devices, they’d have either three days or three plays to listen to the song at which point the song would expire, even if it hadn’t been played at all.  With the launch of the new generation of Zunes and the updated firmware for older Zunes came a new rule that gives users 3 plays with no restriction on how many days the song can be played. While this is better than the previous rule, there are still independent musicians and others who want to share the music that they make with others, but without the restriction. Thankfully, for them, a simple workaround has been discovered.

When I say simple, I really mean simple.  CrunchGear described it as a “forehead slapper” and I’d have to agree. All one would have to do is right click on a music file, click on the “Details” tab, and then change the Genre to “Podcast” as shown below. Click “okay”, and the 3-play restriction is void. Of course this little workaround should only be used on songs that you’ve recorded, or ones which you have permission to do so. We wouldn’t want to use this workaround illegally, now would we? :)

Zune 3 Play Rule Hack

In all seriousness, I think there will be a lot of independent artists who will appreciate this workaround.  If Microsoft gets wind of this though, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the next firmware update “fixes” this bypass. They take DRM pretty seriously, and as effortless as this workaround is, people would be able to easily take advantage of sharing music from one device to another illegally.