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MSN Music Store Launches in Beta

MSN has launched its online music store in beta…

It is in beta, and there’s still some known bugs and issues with this release (I’m amazed at the honesty..the new, new Microsoft, if you will)

Some points:

— You can only buy some albums, for $9.99. Some of them are only available as individual songs. Also, CD buying is through Amazon.

— The music buying process itself is easy and intutive…I bought two songs…nice. I always like the “buying in the browser” mentality (Of course it is only IE, but what else would you expect)..users are already used to it (That’s why I liked AudioGalaxy back in the days)

— No portable subscription for now….

— You need to download Microsoft Download Assitant to buy music through the IE browser…

— The beta release also has tabs to three other services MSN is planning: Movies, TV and Radio

— Right now the movies and TV tabs seems like listings…

— The music service works only in IE…sad.

— Music files are encoded as 160kbps WMA files

— MSFT Passport Login…

— Allows you to play your music on up to five Windows PCs, burn playlists to CD up to seven times, and transfer to an unlimited number of portable audio devices.

— Half a million tracks for now…

Reuters: Beatles in the house? Microsoft had been working to be the first to offer Beatles songs for download for the debut of MSN Music. While they are not being offered on the service yet, “we feel very comfortable that they’re going to be offered online soon” Mehdi said.

Walter Mossberg: Even though the software is technically neutral and is able to house the music stores of Microsoft’s competitors, the only major music store Microsoft supplies with an upgrade to the new version of the software is the MSN store. If you want to use Napster or MusicMatch from within the new Media Player, you’ll need to download additional software.

NYTimes: In another significant departure from Apple’s single-song approach, Microsoft has struck deals with several major artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to sell only entire albums rather than individual tracks.

News.com: Microsoft will have to tread carefully to avoid alienating those [music] partners. Windows Media Player 10 comes as its MSN Web portal on Wednesday launched a music download service that will be featured within a “music mall” inside the application, along with several other digital music services that use Microsoft’s technology.

Forbes.com: The company has managed to get major record labels to sign on to the service under uniform licensing terms. Among the online music players, Apple is the only other service that has managed this.

Related:

MSN Music: It’s Really About Windows

More Details on MSN Music

Some More Details on MSN Music Service

MSN Music Store To Launch on Sept 2