Microsoft Joins Music Biz

Published: 2003-11-20
After saying that they had not plans to enter the downloadable music scene, Microsoft announced Monday that they will launch a music download service next year. No specific details about the service are currently available. "We are excited to confirm that MSN will deliver a download music service next year, and we look forward to sharing more details at a later date," said lead product manager for Microsoft's online division Lisa Gary.

Microsoft rival, Apple, launched iTunes in April 2003. The service has had over 17 million songs downloaded – a quarter of a million the first day – since it began. Amazon, Dell, Sony, and Wal-mart have all announced plans to launch a music download service. Rhapsody is planning on offering single song downloads. These companies will join an already busy market with Musicmatch, MusicNow, BuyMusic, RealNetwords, and the recently revived Napster.

With the explosion of downloadable music services a few questions arise. Do artists get their share of the money made from the downloads? This was a key point in suits against file sharing services. Is downloading music the future of music? How is the downloadable music service going to affect the awards shows? The most recent example the American Music Awards used radio air play and CD sales to determine the winners. As the show demonstrated downloaded music or music sharing does not count. As a result some of the most popular artists were not among the winners.

Microsoft is joining in on the foray; what will set them apart form the rest of the crowd?

Writer: Sherrill Fulghum



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