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Microsoft's iTunes clone in Europe

Written by Jari Ketola @ 14 Aug 2003 15:01 User comments (7)

Microsoft has opened a pay-per-song service in Windows Media Player 9 environment. The service, labeled MSN Music Club is currently available in U.K.
Songs in the service are priced at $1.21 per track or $12.75 per album. Subscribers, however, can download tracks for $0.99 at cheapest.

"This is a very significant boost to the European on-line market," says Mark Mulligan, a Jupiter Research senior analyst. Mulligan sees consistant prices and comprehensive catalogue the two most important features of the service.

One of the big attractions of iTunes has been the fact that the service permits users to burn tracks on CD or store them on a portable device. It's unclear whether or not Microsoft's service allows this.

The European Commission is already investigating if Microsoft's bundling the Media Player with Windows is against the European antitrust laws. At least for now Microsoft has a free advertisement spot on virtually every Windows desktop in Europe.

Provided the use of the tracks isn't too limited, MSN Music Club might turn out to be very successful indeed.


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7 user comments

114.8.2003 15:07

I, for one, would much rather buy the two songs I like from an album, instead of the whole CD. Especially if the CD is copy protected and I have to waste time transfering the songs on my PDA and PC. Of course they'd have to be of high quality, and I should be able to play the songs on other devices as well besides my PC. I'm not a great fan of Windows Media, though.. How about FLAC or SHN? =)

Jari Ketola

215.8.2003 4:18

A little note on a recent experience with current copyprotection mechanisms: I recently aquired Blurīs newest album which is copy protected. I wanted to record the album to a minidisc, something that should be perfectly legal. This didnīt work and the disc was filled with track marks until it became full (255 trackmarks if Iīm not mistaken). However, when I copied the CD with Nero (without any problems whatsoever) I could record the copy to minidisc. Great job on the copy protection, it restricts the consumer to using only CD players but itīs perfectly possible to make copies of the disc.

315.8.2003 5:25

That's the problem with copyprotections - they cause more problems to legitimate users than to pirates. They're an annoyance more than anything else.

Jari Ketola

415.8.2003 13:27

I'm not to sure about Microsoft's version of the iTunes service for a few reasons: It requires Windows Media Player 9 - Some people I know will not even install this! Tracks will likely be encoded in WMA9 - All the artefact problems with previous versions of WMA will put some off. Even WMA9 can't cope very well with voices in Stereo, e.g. Billy Joel. It's quite unlikely that CD burning will be allowed. iTunes may have succeeded so well as its users were not restricted on what they could do with their tracks - If you can burn them to CD, you can rip them back off into MP3s, etc. for MP3 players, e.g. RIO, Goodmans CD-MP3 player, etc.. ;-)

516.8.2003 1:25

I just do not see the point,,,,,,,,,,,,:) it is a microsof product ,,,if you have a ps2 try the q-cast

616.8.2003 1:58

It's crap... 32kbps encoded songs that sound like AM radio station... The same service exists in Belgium via an ISP, it's another name, but same plateform and titles behind. MSN is just using service provider... like that belgian ISP...

716.8.2003 2:10

Well... it's streaming that's in 32kbps. When you download it's 128kbps.Streaming should also be in 128kbps.

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