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MSN To Launch Music Site This Week?

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UPDATED: see below: MSN has been threatening to launch its music site for some time now…I hoped they weren’t foolish enough to launch it in full before Sep 15, but that’s what it seems like…Microsoft plans to quietly launch the MSN online music store this week with the new version of its Windows Media 10 player.

“Early-release versions of the player look like knock-offs of Apple’s iTunes Music Store, complete with brushed nickel finish. But hey, why mess with success? A button in the upper right corner of the player will take consumers to the download store.”

Update 1: Times UK: MSFT has struck deals with record companies including Universal and SonyBMG that will provide it with as many as one million songs for its new service…Times says it will be launched in early Sept.

One person familiar with the developments told Times: “Microsoft has a working platform, and they will be using essentially the same model as iTunes.”

A key difference, however, will be that the store is expected to offer the ability for customers to chat with one another.

Still nothing on getting a Beatles exclusive, though…

Update 2: Some WMP Beta screenshots here and here

Related:

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

New MSN Video Launches; MSN Music Details Leaked