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November 3, 2006

Goodbye MSN Music, hello Zune Marketplace

Posted by David Hunter at 11:49 AM ET.

As part of the prep for the Zune launch on Nov 14 that I mentioned yesterday, Microsoft has put the going out of business sign up on MSN Music. Here’s the story from Ina Fried at CNET:

Two years after opening its MSN Music store to compete with Apple Computer’s iTunes, Microsoft plans to stop selling downloads from the site, CNET has learned.

Beginning, Nov. 14, MSN’s music site will begin redirecting music purchasers to either the Zune Marketplace Web site or to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody site.

“After November 14, the ‘Buy’ buttons that you’re used to seeing on MSN Music album and artist pages will change to links that connect you to Zune and to Real Rhapsody,” MSN Entertainment general manager Rob Bennett said in an e-mail to MSN Music customers.

When it opened its online doors in September 2004, MSN Music had high hopes of competing with Apple, touting the fact that songs bought from the site could be played on a variety of Windows Media-compatible devices.

However, MSN Music, as well as other stores that sell tracks in the Windows Media Audio format, have been unable to compete with iTunes, which has maintained its dominance.

The Rhapsody part is due to the legal settlement with RealNetworks, but the Zune Marketplace referral is a bit of a puzzle since the Zune format is incompatible with the PlaysForSure format which is available on MSN Music. The consensus reading of the MSN Music FAQ about the change seems to be that PlaysForSure customers are just plain out of luck unless they go to Rhapsody or one of the other PlaysForSure Music stores. The PlaysForSure hardware vendors that Microsoft recruited for the last round and now have stranded are going to love this.

Update: The above got updated several times based on varying parsings of the MSN Music FAQ.

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, DRM, Digital Media, MSN, MSN Music, Microsoft, PlaysForSure, RealNetworks, Technologies, Zune

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3 Responses to “Goodbye MSN Music, hello Zune Marketplace”

  1. PlaysForSure goes out with a whimper | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s portable media center partners knew the game was over long ago as did MSN Music users and what few subscribers there were for the Microsoft-MTV Urge music service so I guess we have to chalk this up as merely herding the remaining stragglers to the exit. It’s also a way to obscure the way that Microsoft left PlaysForSure partners and customers out in the cold when they went their own way with the Zune.   Filed under Alliances, Technologies, MSN, Windows Mobile, DRM, Media Player, Portable Media Center, MTV, MSN Music, Microsoft, Argo, Zune, PlaysForSure   [Permalink] [TrackBack] [...]

  2. Other shoes drops for MSN Music | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Back in November, 2006 Microsoft shut the doors on the failed MSN Music download service but kept the DRM servers going to support existing customers. Last week, the end of that service on August 31, 2008 was announced as well. Like iTunes, PlaysForSure authorizations are bound not only to a user’s individual computer, but to that particular instance of their operating system as well. If a user has to rebuild, upgrade, or otherwise reinstall his or her operating system, authorizations for MSN Music subscriptions will be reset. [...]

  3. Microsoft launches MSN Music beta in the UK | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] less understandable except for choosing the MSN Music name which conjures up unpleasant memories of the last MSN Music service which was killed by the Zune in 2006. Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, MSN, MSN Music, Microsoft, Zune Related posts:Goodbye [...]

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