More blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button: MSN Music stops selling music downloads

“Two years after opening its MSN Music store to compete with Apple Computer’s iTunes, Microsoft plans to stop selling downloads from the site,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News. “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.”

Fried reports, “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. Apple had dismissed Microsoft’s effort when it launched, saying that its lack of support for the iPod would prevent it from becoming a hit.”

Full article here.

JupiterReseacrh analyst Michael Gartenberg blogs, “Going forward, clicking the purchase link will take you to your choice of either Rhapsody purchase or Zune purchase. Both are significant, since neither of them are Plays For Sure.

“While it’s not like there’s a lot of folks that actually bought music from the MSN music store, it would seem those folks are in a bind. If they start buying from Zune , they will need to get to get a new Zune device, and their existing music won’t go with them. If they go Rhapsody, new stuff they purchase likely won’t work on devices they currently own either, but at least a new Rhapsody compatible device will also allow them to play their old content,” Gartenberg writes.

Gartenberg writes, “I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t try to offer something like replacement for existing content in either Rhapsody or Zune formats. Either way, it shows the problems of picking the wrong format in a format war, especially when one format owns >75% of the market. I wonder how many of these folks will end up going neither to REAL or Zune and in the end, just buying an iPod.”

Full article here.
Merely a presage for Zune. Way to screw your customers yet again, Microsoft. Why do we have such a compelling URGE to laugh?

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28 Comments

  1. I was thinking about this as being Blood on the Clickwheel when I read it yesterday. But then I read that they were pointing people to Zune and realized that they probably want to (smartly) focus their energies in one music service.

    Blood erased.

    (That RealPlayer deal sucks, though.)

  2. As Poster #1 says, this is surely just a consolidation of their download services into a single product, the Zube site? I don’t see where the “blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button” is. That, of course, may come later. But at this stage, this is a natural consolidation. I’d have been surprised has Microsoft *not* consolidated the brands.

  3. Rocko Socko, but how happy will people be that they have to buy a new player? As far as I recall, the zune store works on zune only. Why would people want to commit to buying stuff from the same company who has just shafted them?

  4. The music you bought from the MSN Music Shop is useless with Zune.

    That is the way to treat customers who bought the wrong player. Thank you Micro$ad! They needed a punishment. Long live the iPod!

    Remember that all the songs you bought from the iTunes Music Store can be burned to CD or DVD without DRM and transfered to different MP3 player. Apple provides this exit plan to its customers so that they are always on the safe side.

  5. How about calling it “Blood On the MSN Tracks”?

    And the consolidation IS caused by its poor marketshare as a direct result of Apple.

    Also, this is got to be annoying to the one or two people who actually used it, as their library is going to be affected one way or the other. A hassle.

    And, not to tie this story with the last, but no matter what Microsoft does, “you can’t polish a turd, although you CAN Polish it”.

    By the way, I couldn’t tell you how many times I said “Ina fried, dude, you are!” back in the 70’s. I do remember once, at a Frampton concert…

  6. This is blood. The MSN Music Store is closing because it failed. The only reason Zune is coming is because the MSN Music Store and WMA PlaysforSure failed.

    Why are they directing to Rhapsody instead of to URGE (MTV)? Wasn’t URGE supposed to be the next MS big partnership thing (before MS came up with its next big thing in Zune)? This is the double-slap to MTV – first abandon PlaysforSure, then abandon URGE. That’ll teach MTV to hitch their wagon to MS.

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