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MSN’s Music Service To Launch in August; Janus Delayed?

Microsoft is poised to soft-launch its long-awaited online music store late next month, according to FT. That means the software giant will not market its store until it has been operational for several months and the company has been able to iron out any glitches it may discover. (FYI: A sneak peak of the design of the music service was given today at the Microsoft analyst day, but no other details were given…I hope someone took pictures!)

Curiously, the story says that it will be “an là carte” service from which consumers could buy and download digital audio tracks to their PC, much like Apple’s.

Everyone else in the industry had been expecting that the new music service would feature the much-vaunted Janus DRM system to enable portable subscriptions…the details are sketchy for now. Does that mean Janus has been delayed? What were the issues? I would venture to say that the labels still have problems coming on board, even though the music services like Napster, MusicMatch and others have been very enthusiastic in their reception…

People familiar with the MSN music store praised its user-friendly interface. It will include a powerful song search engine and a feature that would recommend artists and tracks based on customers’ musical preferences. Consumers will also be able to share playlists and chat with each other.