Microsoft extends life of MSN Music tunes

People who bought songs from Microsoft's now-defunct MSN Music service will get three more years to move the music to new PCs.

People who bought songs from Microsoft's now-defunct MSN Music service will get three more years to move the music to new devices and operating systems after a change of course by the company.

Microsoft said it will now support authenticating those tracks, as required by the DRM (digital rights management) technology encoded into the music, through at least the end of 2011. Microsoft will then decide based on demand whether to continue.

Songs purchased on the service, offered only in the U.S., used Microsoft's "PlaysForSure" DRM, which required that the songs gain a license key from Microsoft's servers if a user transferred the music to a new PC or device.

But MSN Music, one of several online music store efforts by Microsoft, was shut down in November 2006 when the company launched a new one centered around its Zune digital music player.

Then Microsoft said in April that it would only support authenticating songs from MSN Music through Aug. 31. The decision meant that users could no longer migrate their music to a new PC if they upgraded their hardware.

If a person's PC died, the music would be gone unless it has been backed up on a CD or to another hard drive. Even if a user merely upgraded their operating system, for example from Windows XP to Vista, authentication is still required.

Microsoft's decision drew fire from users and organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which said consumers should be entitled to refunds.

PlaysForSure DRM, which Microsoft has renamed "Certified for Windows Vista" has a set of Byzantine rules for how content can be burned to CDs and shared with other devices.

The Zune Marketplace sells songs using Windows Media DRM 10.

Some content is available in unprotected MP3 format as music industry warms to the idea of selling music without DRM after backlash from consumers.

Apple, whose iTunes Music Store remains the most popular place to buy music online, is selling some tracks minus its version of DRM, called FairPlay, after new agreements were reached with music labels. also sells songs from Warner Music Group without DRM in the MP3 format.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?