Microsoft Screws MSN Music Store Customers

Microsoft Screws MSN Music Store Customers
In an email to customers last week, Microsoft announced it will be removing the licensing servers to it’s now defunct MSN music store on August 31. The servers allow customers to change their DRM (Digital Rights Management) authorisation, altering which PCs and operating systems are licensed to play the songs they’ve bought from the store.

With five licenses per song, people would use the server to de-authorise songs on one PC and to move them to another. Now customers will have to do any and all license switching before August 31 — after which they’re locked into whatever PC their music happens to be on. This ensures a point in the near future where people will have no way to play the music they legally purchased from the MSN store.

According to the email, "if you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play." So unless you plan on never buying a new computer again, you’re out of luck.

The ugly point here is that you never truly own DRM music that you purchase — the owner can always revoke the ability to transfer the songs for any reason in the future. And while the current trend is moving away from DRM-music sales, there will always be a few holdouts, and this is as good a reason any to avoid them like the plague.