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November 3, 2006

MSN Music death watch

Posted by Kim Peterson at 11:41 AM

The future of MSN Music has been in question since Microsoft said it would build a music ecosystem around its Zune products, the first of which is due out on Nov. 14.

Today, MSN Music posted a note on its customer service page saying that it will no longer sell music downloads starting on Nov. 14. The "buy" button that previously sold music for MSN will change to links that allow users to choose between the Zune Marketplace and RealNetworks' Rhapsody.

Why Rhapsody? This is probably tied to the antitrust settlement between Microsoft and RealNetworks, in which Microsoft said it would do more to promote its one-time rival's products.

What about the songs people bought on MSN Music previously? It doesn't look like they'll be able to use them with Zune, according to this site. The songs will work with devices that use the PlaysForSure digital rights system, but Zune isn't a part of that.

Sounds like MSN Music will still exist as a promotional site, and will feature music, videos and music-related news. But Microsoft probably won't pay much attention to it moving forward.

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