MSN Music Downloads beta service launches today [UK]

Microsoft was originally planning to roll out MSN Music Downloads (beta) back in July this year but due to some quality issues it has finally launched today.

Microsoft has penned deals with the four major music labels: EMI, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony BMG. The software giant expects to offer approximately one million tracks for download at launch. Tracks, on average, cost 79p but in order to purchase tracks or albums customers have to purchase credits. A package of 10 credits costs £7.99. One credit will buy one single the full 10 credits will purchase most of the albums available. Tracks are encoded to 192 kbps and are available in MP3 and WMA formats without DRM protection.

Microsoft is also planning to offer tracks streamed via a service similar to Spotify. According to a Microsoft spokesperson who spoke to TechRadar "as part of the service, free music streaming will be tested on a limited basis. MSN will be running a series of promotions on the MSN website enabling a limited number of users to gain access to this aspect of the beta."

View: MSN Music Downloads

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18 Comments

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The only reason I don't buy in to a MS paid service, like the music store is they try, don't get the market, shut it down, rinse and repeat.

Now if they gave an option to "unprotect" the previous closed stores songs you own, or still have it where you can down and activated now, however "Play for Sure" worked out in the past so well didn't it.

Look and Windows Market place within Vista to be able to buy, re-download / install software eletronically... it ended up a failure and shut down too...

If they want to take any kind of share in the market they need to equal at least what Spotify offers in terms of the availability of streaming music for free, otherwise there's very little incentive to start using their service. I know it's still in beta, but I'm not going to start spending money on something that's more expensive than Amazon MP3 and gives me a lower quality product.

It's the WMP plugin that you need to reinstall after every FF update.

At least I have to, and it totally sucks.

so msn just gets new design this uses old one...good one microsoft seriously they should just kick msn to the curb and change it all to windows live :S

Why? MSN looks great now, this is just for UK. I believe they made it for MSN and old design because they don't want to make other people want it. It's just temporary until they get Zune Marketplace. Windows Live is for services, MSN is for news. You're missing the entire point of these departments. Two completely different things. Windows Live can't juggle it all.

So they are late to the game, the albums are worse quality and look to be more expensive than Amazon's similar service? Plus with Amazon I don't have to buy credits and they have a decent download program and great customer service. Also, it seems like you have to log in to do anything at all. Gee I hope they are all just beta issues...

The UI looks a bit unfinished. It's working fine though, listening to La Roux's album right now.

Seriously though, they need a desktop client like Spotify. I don't want to have to leave my browser open to listen to music!!!

Matt Sharpe said,
The UI looks a bit unfinished. It's working fine though, listening to La Roux's album right now.

It's still in beta. Last.fm is where I go to listen and share.

Billus said,
It's still in beta. Last.fm is where I go to listen and share.


When did Last.fm get the Warner music contract back then?

Because this is for the UK and the Zune Marketplace isn't in the UK yet? Probably due to licensing. They will come together in time, but till then MS figured they'd use this for the UK for now.

GP007 said,
Because this is for the UK and the Zune Marketplace isn't in the UK yet? Probably due to licensing. They will come together in time, but till then MS figured they'd use this for the UK for now.

Not that licensing stop a number of other online music services from maintaining a single site. The music selection can of course vary depending on exactly which songs are licensed for the respective markets, but I don't see why the end-user experience should be different depending on which demography you belong to. You're talking of licensing of data files, I'm talking of the entire services.