Microsoft To Give Away Free Music To Get Around iTunes Lock In?

from the one-way-to-do-it dept

There’s been lots of buzz about the rumored plans for a Microsoft competitor to the iPod, with news reports coming out yesterday saying it will be out in time for the holidays this year. The basic story is that Microsoft has gotten sick of waiting for any of its partners to beat the iPod and has decided to just build its own device, taking a page from their success with the Xbox. Nothing too surprising there. However, Engadget has uncovered one juicy tidbit that, if it turns out to be true, is quite interesting. In order to break the stranglehold Apple has on the downloadable music store market thanks to its own copy protection system, Microsoft’s will apparently scan your iTunes and allow you to download any tracks you bought from iTunes for free on its own platform. The company, obviously, would then pay the rightsholders for the songs, but according to the article, Microsoft sees this as a worthwhile marketing expense to move people off of iTunes. If it’s true, it’s definitely a smart move, as there’s little likelihood of any other method getting people out of iTunes lock-in. Though, it’s not clear if the new songs will be just as locked-in to Microsoft’s format, though that seems likely. Of course, we’ve wondered in the past why other companies (like ISPs) haven’t done the same, agreeing to eat the costs on downloads, allowing them to be a loss leader that brings in plenty of new customers.


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Comments on “Microsoft To Give Away Free Music To Get Around iTunes Lock In?”

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30 Comments
Just Me says:

Fantastico

I hope that they do go ahead with this. I am sick and tired of hearing how cool the Apple IPod is.

I just don’t like the idea of having no control over what device I could use to listen to the music I download.

Not that I am big fan of Microsoft, but I am sure that they could afford to spend a little money from their huge budget to compete with Apple.

Also, I am sure that this news will be welcomed by all the artists, who should have better contracting power, given the competition between suppliers.

Good news for music buyers too. 🙂

glee says:

Bigger Picture

DRM is fundamentally flawed. Why should rightsholders be entitled to payment for every platform their device plays on?

Its the same game where we the consumers were forced to pay for our vinyl album music collections on tape and then cds.

There’s an opportunity in the digital world to end this extortion.

DSM says:

Re: Bigger Picture

Digital content is often viewed as “hard copy” content, whether on a disc or paper book. The rights of the original artist/writer/etc are not waived because it’s in a digital form. Only hackers can subvert this, but it does not change the rights of the original content producer.

If you were one of those people, I suspect your greed would move from it’s hard position.

glee says:

Bigger Picture - REVISED

DRM is fundamentally flawed. Why should rightsholders be entitled to payment for every platform their MUSIC plays on?

Its the same game where we the consumers were forced to pay for our vinyl album music collections on tape and then cds.

There’s an opportunity in the digital world to end this extortion.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think you're all missing something...

Under the Copyright law in the USA (the only country where I even have an inkling of clue about copyrights) it is perfectly legal for one to platform shift their media.

The only thing that makes it illegal is the DMCA coming behind and saying you cannot decrypt (or even discuss decrypting) any copy protected works, no matter how useless and futile the copy protection is.

SO, I see absolutely no reason why M$ would have to pay the RIAA or their clients for any platform shifting media files that M$ allows its customers to download.

IE: M$ will give you the file for free, and they wont pay for it.

WHY? cause you are legally entitled to it. And if they assist you in exercising your right, they will sweep a cubic asse tonne of customers from iTMS.

This doesnt make their M$MS any less evil than iTMS (as long as its using stupid lockin DRM) its just the worlds best marketing strategy for killing iTMS. And its FREE.

Chris (user link) says:

This will happen

This will happen.

The guys at Red vs. Blue (Roosterteeth) are pretty cool with various sites hosting their videos, but they will NOT let it be “podcast”, whether it’s listed on iTunes or not. Since their existence depends on MS’ good graces (MS can shut them down by claiming copyright infringement) it stands to reason that MS wants them exclusively on their service. I just wonder what it’ll be called. My vote is for MScast.

OK, it’s a fringe observation. But sometimes you can see things clearer from outside the forest.

Dan says:

Just like a gang war... who cares who wins?

I look forward to this device.

The IPOD was cool… five years ago. I think Apple has gotten too complacent.

There’s no reason music players should NOT have wireless/bluetooth compatibility nowadays.

Once MS and Apple put each other behind their respective eight balls, competition should make things good for us consumers.

Frink says:

Now there’s something I’ve been waiting for – a Microsoft application scanning my hard drive, reporting home and then downloading a bunch of stuff back to me. Someone please remind me when it comes out so I can be one of the first to sign up. Wonder how many pages that EULA will be?

I think I remember my mother warning me about taking candy from strangers.

MIcrosoft and music player... says:

can you say laptop… J/k, well since the Xbox360 crashes, what do you think the music player will do, Honestly i believe that microsoft should stay out of the personal music player industry, no one wants a 3 pound paperweight that dies every 20 minutes and takes 3 minutes to boot up… i can see it now,

Anonymous Coward says:

As much as I’m not a MS fan, I hope they start to make inroads in the digital music market. Apple needs someone to light a fire under them and keep them on their toes. It’s been a while since anything really cool has come out from them.

The other benefit will be that with more competition in this space, I can see Apple possibly loosening up on their DRM. I can see that they may start to license their FairPlay technology so that others might provide ways for users to sell music for the iPods.

At least I hope it starts going that way…

mp3playerguy says:

and then there was...

Frankly, I never saw the point of the iPod in the first place, except maybe as the trendy new music player for yuppie scum who aren’t even capable of using windows explorer to drag and drop mp3 files into an mp3 player. With windows now there aren’t even driver installations with portable storage devices so why bother having a music device that needs its own special software and own special itunes downloading crap to use. Unless microsoft is intending for its player to also act as a regular mp3 player does without all extra fluff (which it probably isn’t) then it will be just as lame and pointless to buy (which it probably will be) as an iPod, excepting all the yuppie shmucks who’ll have to get one… never could figure out plug’n’play storage devices

drm is lame says:

icck!

Labels and distros (MS and apple) need to give up on the DRM requirments and trust their own customers not to share what they actually legitimately purchase.

The digital formats will likely change to the next best thing in 10 years anyway.. Why not use a digital format that works for everybody right now on every player out there.

Gosh, I bet Micro$oft doesn’t have the money to bribe the RIAA into allowing them to sell DRM free music.

It’s all a sham folks. Might as well buy your music on CD so you have it 10 years from now.

R. Larson says:

iPod + DRM

I don’t know about anyone else, but my iPod plays mp3s just fine, no DRM. I buy music from allofmp3.com and I use a program called Anapod Explorer to add my files, playlists, etc. I also can use Anapod to bring my music back from my iPod to my PC in case of a HD crash. As long as the MS player supports regular old mp3s w/o DRM then I think it’ll be a great competitor to the iPod, and within 3 years we’ll start to see some fresh offerings on both sides.

Curious Yellow says:

In the old days

In the old days it when an LP was $6 and a cassette tape

was a $1, one could save wear on the LP and have a copy that could go in a portable device (player or automobile)

for skip-free enjoyment. My library was my own, and

the LP still played on the stereo while the tape was out

in the car.

In the old days, no LP/turntable combination ever

crashed, frooze, or locked-up a stereo system with

an attempt by the LP distributor to prevent such a

copy from being made.

In the old days, one could go to a truck-stop and find a

rack of 8-track tapes with titles a record store would

not have on their shelves for not much more than the

cost of the blank tape. A definite pirated copy with

bad graphics or no graphics. (Don’t worry RIAA, all

such copies are no longer in use.)

In the old days, I built my own mp3 library to put on

CD-R disks that would play in a portable CD player,

but despite skip-protection, would still be plagued by

the bumps in the road. But my library was my own,

the copy on the computer still played when I had a

copy on my portable device.

In these days, I bought an MP3 player that uses SD

memory cards. Drag-and-drop to the SD card, skip-free

enjoyment on the road. And still, my library is my own,

self-managed and listenable on either system.

-SeeWhy?

Bill (user link) says:

Microsoft is Actually Spending Money?

This is an amusing antidote to say the least. This is the first time, in a long while that I can remember that Microsoft is actually doing something for the benefit of it’s consumers.

However, before we start singing Microsoft’s praises, the RIAA will still chime in and find some sort of argument that transfering music from one device to another, is not only not ethical but there should be an extra fee tacked on for the privledge of doing something that not only makes perfect sense but adds added convience to the customer.

Let’s just hope they will make it possible to play other formats other than their sickening WMA and the traditional MP3 format. Can we say OGG anyone?

JD says:

M$ just looking for more money.

Psst kid buy our new toy, will give you free music downloads.

What’s so free about music you already paid for?? It would be good if they were to scan your itunes songs, and offer free downloads of songs that a similar.

IE: You downloaded Aerosmith’s ” Jaded ” with itunes, sothey offer you to download Aerosmith’s ” Crazy ” or another song.

Other than that, it’s just a scam on the consumer.

JD says:

M$ just looking for more money.

Psst kid buy our new toy, will give you free music downloads.

What’s so free about music you already paid for?? It would be good if they were to scan your itunes songs, and offer free downloads of songs that a similar.

IE: You downloaded Aerosmith’s ” Jaded ” with itunes, sothey offer you to download Aerosmith’s ” Crazy ” or another song.

Other than that, it’s just a scam on the consumer.

Bill Gates says:

Declination of claim

Microsoft wishes to inform you that your information is incorrect and from an fraud website. Microsoft has no intention of allowing computerists to transfer files from Itunes to any Microsoft program.Engadget has now been blacklisted by Microsoft your article may be terminated.

Regards,
Bill Gates
( Head of Microsoft)

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