Did you buy DRMed music from the defunct MSN Music Store? Guess what…

… is about to happen that you won’t be too happy about:

Customers who have purchased music from Microsoft’s now-defunct MSN Music store are now facing a decision they never anticipated making: commit to which computers (and OS) they want to authorize forever, or give up access to the music they paid for. Why? Because Microsoft has decided that it’s done supporting the service and will be turning off the MSN Music license servers by the end of this summer.

MSN Entertainment and Video Services general manager Rob Bennett sent out an e-mail this afternoon to customers, advising them to make any and all authorizations or deauthorizations before August 31. “As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers,” reads the e-mail seen by Ars. “You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play.”

This doesn’t just apply to the five different computers that PlaysForSure allows users to authorize, it also applies to operating systems on the same machine (users need to reauthorize a machine after they upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista, for example). Once September rolls around, users are committed to whatever five machines they may have authorized—along with whatever OS they are running. 

Doh! Just another friendly reminder as to why buying DRMed music files is a bad idea.

7 thoughts on “Did you buy DRMed music from the defunct MSN Music Store? Guess what…

  1. I got this email today, too.  I found it particularly amusing that Microsoft basically describes how to defeat their own DRM:  By burning your DRM’d tracks as an audio CD, you can then rip your track back off as a DRM-free MP3 (and have a nice backup of the track to boot).

    Y’know, if you’re gonna basically a) admit DRM’d music sucks by proving the user doesn’t actually own it, and b) provide instructions for circumventing your own DRM system, why not do us the favor and just STOP USING DRM!  smile

  2. By burning your DRM’d tracks as an audio CD, you can then rip your track back off as a DRM-free MP3 (and have a nice backup of the track to boot).

    You can also make MP3’s out of your files by re-recording them with Audacity, though that might actually take a bit longer…

  3. Oh surprise, surprise. We sure didn’t see something like this coming! I mean, what customer would actually expect to have the use of something bought and paid for any time they want? Really, the audacity of some people!

    /sarcasm

  4. Ballmer basically said Vista sucks, now a general manager jumps on the bandwagon and tells us how to bypass the DRM.  I got an email about how Outlook Express won’t be able to access Hotmail anymore and to switch to Windows Live Mail.  New era for M$?

    I don’t use Live Mail, so I don’t know if it’s any better than OE.  OE was a pit-stop between Netscape Navigator and Thunderbird for me.  All I can say is that, in technical terms, OE sucked ass.

    I was so happy when Wally world and Amazon started offering DRM free mp3s. Now that I can listen to mp3s in the car, it’s the only way to go.

  5. I had to pass this on.

    The tag line of Seduced by Success: How the Best Companies Survive the 9 Traps of Winnning
    (McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9780071481830)

    Authored by the former COO of Microsoft, this strategic guide offers proven tactics for preventing arrogance, bloat, and neglect while capitalizing on your accomplishments, sustaining momentum, and retaining your position in the marketplace.

    Best concept book since Microsoft Press wrote a book on how to write bug-free code.

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