The Zune Unveils Another Venue You’re Not Cool Enough To Get Into

Dan Gibson | June 13, 2008 2:30 am

Continuing its attempts to firm up its position as “the No. 1 digital-music player that isn’t an iPod,” the Zune has opened its own venue in Los Angeles in order to assure you of its status among “tastemakers.” Sure, it’s an office for Microsoft employees during the day, but at night, it’s LA’s hottest music venue since the Peach Pit After Dark shut its doors.

Of course, any club you can get into in Los Angeles isn’t cool enough for you to be there, so Zune L.A. is invite only. And look at the entertainment you’ve missed so far:

At the christening, Zune wooed all manner of movers and shakers in the art, music and event-planning world with mojitos, music and visuals. Eastside promoter and Temporary Spaces founder Sean Patrick DJ’d (plugged into a Zune player, naturally) across from a custom light installation (an “interactive chandelier”) from noted London-based artist Moritz Waldemeyer….

Zune L.A. has hosted private events for groups such as CAA, and for now its offerings will remain invitation-only. Musicians such as Janelle Monae and former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford have already performed at Zune L.A., and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker will launch his line of New Era hats this month.

Its next event, on Tuesday, is a screening of “Joy Division: The Documentary” (followed by a 90-minute DJ set from Joy Division bass player Peter Hook).

Former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford! And Travis Barker’s hats. Man, I miss L.A. so much.

You might assume that Zune L.A. is just another trendy venue with an open bar and a bunch of semi-famous people milling about. You would be wrong.

Chris Stephenson, Zune’s general manager of global marketing, calls the space “a clubhouse for the creative community in L.A. — a place for people to gather and connect that’s designed for creative expression.”..

Says Stephenson: “We envision Zune L.A. as a cultural hub.”

So why is Microsoft debuting this concept in L.A., and not in Seattle or New York?

“We wanted to pick somewhere where we could not only feed off the cultural energy of the city but collaborate with the creative community to add to it,” he says. “L.A. had the right mix of entertainment gravitas and growing cultural relevance within art and design.”

Gravitas and cultural relevance, of course! How did I miss that? I just figured you guys were trying to figure out a way to develop some buzz for your player in the shadow of the iPhone. My mistake.

Zune gets in tune with L.A. [LA Times]

(A quick caveat: I contribute freelance work to the iTunes Store. That being said, I didn’t understand the appeal of a less functional, more expensive version of the iPod I already own even before I made any money from Apple, and I’m not even a Mac guy.)