Napster, others agree to use new Microsoft DRM media software, subscription music on portables

“Microsoft Corp. said Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit, Walt Disney Co., Roxio Inc.’s Napster and others have agreed to use a new version of Microsoft’s media software that could give the company an advantage in a budding music rivalry with Apple Computer Inc. The new version of its Windows Media software contains an improvement that could allow consumers who rent, rather than buy, digital music and movies to put those files on portable devices — an important capability that media rental and subscription services now lack. Subscribers to such services would be able to fill up a portable player with songs, keeping them for as long as they remain members,” Dow Jones reports.

“Users will periodically need to reconnect their devices to their computers and the Internet — every 30 days, say — to renew rights to keep listening to songs on their players. While pricing plans haven’t been set, online music executives have talked about offering the ability to rent unlimited amounts of music for $ 20 or more a month,” Dow Jones reports.

Full article here.


  1. The word “Rent” – how does this sound good to anyone?

    Usually the phrase goes something like the following:

    “Rent to Own”

    Rent with Microsoft, Own with Apple.

  2. Rent…. Like a book from library.

    So, are record labels planning to pay the artists everytime someone “rent” a song or are they planning to pay when the “library” buys a copy to “rent.” Sounds to me like a new way to screw the artists.

  3. I don’t get it @ all, how will record companies gain anything from this or how will artisit make money?? How does 1000 songs on ur Ipod for $20 sound?? I mean it sounds fucking great to me, I hope record companies see what this means to there bizness!! they will never make any money and Microsoft will take over the world!! lol jk.

  4. I’ve always wondered how people with such high powered jobs can be so stupid. The music industry leaders seem to be getting dumber by the day, and now the tech ‘leaders’ (the ones involved here are more like followers) are doing the same.

  5. Have you heard of XM radio? Its getting pretty successful. And you have to pay for it. So basically you are “renting” that music. The difference here is you get to rent the music you want.

    I think Apple has failed already. Within two years, iTunes will be gone and the music we bought will be unplayable. Maybe not quite that doomsday, but I think Apple has yet again failed to see the big picture. Locking your customers in to your formats and not licensing them out to others will kill you every time. It happens time and time again. Yet Apple couldn’t see this yet again.

  6. simple1: are you an idiot? it’s not 1000 songs for $20! it’s 1000 songs for $20 a month, meaning if in a few years you want to listen to your music you will have spent hundreds. this is the worst idea i have ever heard. so fucking stupid.

  7. I hate to tell Micro$oftopoly and it “partners”, but if you can download it you can hijack it. No software protection scheme is going to be foolproof and “rented” music cannot be properly imported into videos (iMovie and the like) and slideshows because it will not play if the subscription expires or is played on an “unauthorized” device. Again, Micro$oftopoly comes to the game with a second-rate product and will try to use the power of monopoly to overwhelm everybody else.

  8. All those crooked PC hacker-wannabes will be using the Windows equivelants of WireTap and Audio Hijack Pro to record the audio and then re-encode it.

    Say you are a PC weenie with a huge, phat pipe to the internet. Download GIGS of music in a month or two… then re-encode it to whatever format you want. Then unsubscribe.

    Yep, sounds like a way to screw the artists, the record companies, etc. Or maybe they just don’t care… maybe all they really want is $20 for that month.

  9. As great as it is to own your music forever, the one drawback to paying for each individual song that you want is that within a year or two you get tired of listening to the same songs and so have to continually be buying new songs. This can become very expensive, especially if you don’t end up listening to half the music you bought a year ago. The one advantage of subscription services is that you can continue to hear new, fresh music without committing yourself to buying each song you want to hear. Something that appears in every Walkman on the market, and that is starting to appear in some mp3 players, is the ability to listen to radio stations. I think the next step in music and mp3 players is the ability to listen to satellite radio on the player itself. There are obviously many people that prefer buying the satellite radio equipment and paying the monthly fee over having an iPod, just because they would prefer to constantly listen to new music instead of being limited to what they own. I think if Apple were able to make their iPod’s satellite radio ready, in other words, able to receive satellite radio stations if the owner chooses to subscribe, this will make the iPod a complete music system with absolutely nothing lacking. It would make the iPod by far superior and more useful in regards to music than any other mp3 player on the market.

  10. XM Radio like renting music? I don’t think so. XM’s biggest selling point is commercial free stuff that can be heard from just about anywhere, anytime. However, you stil can’t choose the song you want to hear at that exact moment, can you Jeff? No one is foolish enough to “rent” music. Or perhaps Microsoft can find a way to charge people for renting AM/FM music? There are plenty of MS-suckers born every minute.

  11. well if iTunes and ipods end up with 5% of the market it will still be the best 5%, don’t worry about it…

    you can’t do one thing tech without having 9 million copy cats right behind you, so everyone trying to catch up and make money is no surprise. I think Apple is on the right track by relying so much on innovation and great software. I seriously doubt they are relaxing just because they have had some big successes.

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