Microsoft Planning to Launch MSN Music Subscription Service


msn music logoCNET News reports: “Feeling Apple’s sting, Microsoft is looking to diminish iTunes’ influence with a new subscription music service. Sources say the company is also considering a more direct attack on Apple, seeking rights from copyright holders to give subscribers a Microsoft-formatted version of any song purchased from iTunes so they can be played on devices other than an iPod.” Watch out… Microsoft is starting to play dirty (some might say). Now let’s see if they can restrain themselves from bullying the very partners/competitors who use their digital music encoding technology to sell music online (i.e. Napster, Yahoo! Music).





Filed in: Content Providers


  • Simon_Mackay

    Hi!

    If MS went as bullish as they were going to be with Apple’s iTunes Music Store, could Sony try the same hand? This could mean that songs bought through iTunes Music Store could be “brought in” to SonicStage, made in to ATRAC3 / ATRAC3plus files and provisioned to MagicGate MemoryStick; Network Walkman; or Net-MD / Hi-MD MiniDisc devices.

    This certainly means that Apple will certainly be aching about losing its iPod superiority dream! After attempts by RealNetworks to “bridge” Rhapsody to the Apple AirPort Express device, it could mean that Apple has to WAKE UP to common standards, widely-practised DRM methods and the like.

    This may be a politically-incorrect statement but I find that Microsoft has pushed for a level playing field by using de-facto standards and cost-effective development tools.

    With regards,

    Simon Mackay

  • mluong

    I definitely think that Apple needs to let other device makers use the songs from iTunes. I don’t think MS is in the wrong to push for this. As most of your portable devices on the market today allow users to use rights managed WMA, it just means that your songs from iTunes can be used on many more devices and you are not locked into the Ipod.

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    The problem is Apple doesn’t want to license their FairPlay DRM technology to device manufactures. On the other hand, Microsoft’s PlaysForSure certification program is a welcome change to lock down tactics of the past. One of these days (hopefully) Apple will get a clue.

  • http://www.alexandergrundner.com Alexander Grundner

    Simon_Mackay said: If MS went as bullish as they were going to be with Apple’s iTunes Music Store, could Sony try the same hand? This could mean that songs bought through iTunes Music Store could be “brought in” to SonicStage, made in to ATRAC3 / ATRAC3plus files and provisioned to MagicGate MemoryStick; Network Walkman; or Net-MD / Hi-MD MiniDisc devices.

    This certainly means that Apple will certainly be aching about losing its iPod superiority dream! After attempts by RealNetworks to “bridge” Rhapsody to the Apple AirPort Express device, it could mean that Apple has to WAKE UP to common standards, widely-practised DRM methods and the like.

    I’m really curious how Microsoft is going to offer WMA-formatted versions of iTMS purchased tracks. Do you really think they’ll come up with a tool like Real’s “Harmony” that will swap out Apple’s DRM and convert it to a WMA protected file? Or will Microsoft negotiate with music labels to allow users to download copies of songs they’ve already purchased through iTMS, if they can prove it?

    My thoughts: If Microsoft goes the Harmony route, they’ll most likely get sued by Apple. But if they can negotiate to offer duplicate copies for users, Apple won’t have much say and users will have the choice to delete their FairPlay encoded track if they choose to do so later.

  • melvin

    I don’t think there will be any legal problems with Apple. Apple doesn’t own the copyrights to the music. The copyright holder can sell the music anyway they want. It’s between Microsoft and the record companies.

    I’m not sure why the record companies would do this though. Unless they get more back from an Microsoft subscription then other subscriptions, they’re better off hoping users buy multiple formats on their own. I doubt record companies are concerned about an Apple ‘monopoly’.

  • theharmonyguy

    If it’s another revenue stream for the record companies, they’ll take it . . . :)

    On the other hand, Microsoft’s PlaysForSure certification program is a welcome change to lock down tactics of the past.

    I’ve found, though, that Microsoft tends to be very “open,” supportive of industry standards, willing to work with everybody, etc., when they’re not the market leader – iow, when it’s to their business advantage. Once they lock up a market, though, you can forget that approach. It’s more a temporary strategy than a consistent corporate philosophy. So while it’s nice that MS is doing this right now, I’m not so sure I want a WMA-dominated market down the road.