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MS locks ex-MSN Music users out of purchases

updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed April 23, 2008

MS Locks MSN Music Users

Microsoft late yesterday stirred controversy by telling former customers of its shuttered MSN Music service that it will shut down its license activation system for the service by the end of August. Although it allows customers to play any purchased songs on existing operating systems and computers, any music transfered to a new PC or OS install after the cutoff date will no longer be authorized to play.

The company doesn't provide a reason for the shutdown but is believed to be both a question of cost-cutting measures as well as a means of steering customers towards newer and more active stores, including Microsoft's own Zune Marketplace. The store launched along with the Zune player in late 2006 and is seen as the company's preferred music service. Both MSN Music and the MTV-supported URGE store have since been shut down in the wake of the Zune Marketplace's appearance.

Critics of digital rights management (DRM) schemes have warned that such problems are likely to occur as long as music and video is copy protected, as they typically depend on the host company remaining both in business and actively interested in maintaining the rights system for legacy users. Stores such as Amazon MP3 have insisted on DRM-free tracks in part to guarantee the survival of tracks regardless of the company's own actions.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    That's the fear with buying any DRM music (including from iTMS).

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001




  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999



    I'm so gonna get a Zune..... Dude!

  1. thibaulthalpern

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008



    Very true, testudo.

    As for iTunes, one can't really blame them for that because it has tried to get DRM free songs and really the Music production labels are the ones resisting.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    testudo ??

    That is why iTunes allows you to burn the music to a cd. Its not perfect but it covers that issue.

    Then again, it could just be an MS thing. You know, only caring about the money and not about the customer. ???? LOL :-)


  1. ZinkDifferent

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005


    That's a bummer...

    ...for the 3 guys that bought music from them in the first place...

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    begone foul troll

    testudo, Microsuck has a history of s******* over both its business partners (PlaysForSure, anybody?) and its customers ("Vista-ready" PCs, Zune players which don't play 'PlaysForSure', and now this).

    Apple, not so much.

    Other than that, your knee-jerk reactionary Apple-bashing was spot-on.

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    Even if 3 people...

    ...they just don't get it. Disabling anyone's tracks, however they do it, is a terrible blow to consumer confidence for all MS music stores and possibly even other DRM stores. MS has enough resources that they can guarantee these purchases indefinitely. They aren't going out of business. They are just stupid.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999


    wow, that's stupid

    I bet quite a few lawyers are licking their chops with this news. Can you say class-action lawsuit? If they actually follow through with this, it's going to blow up big time for Microsoft, and for DRM in general. I'd better get some popcorn ready, but I'm looking forward to seeing more exposure of the implications of these proprietary DRM systems.

    If MS wasn't being run by a bunch of clueless idiots, they would offer to convert the content to their new DRM'd format at the very least, and eat any licensing charges that might incur, or they would simply reimburse them. The lawsuit damages will probably exceed them.

  1. stirrell

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    MSN Music burned to CD

    eldernorm, MSN Music can also be burned to CD using Windows Media Player. There is no difference in that regard.

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