MSN Music servers going dark - so does your music

If you bought any DRM-encumbered music from MSN, you may be out of luck starting September. MSN is planning to turn off their DRM servers, which means that whichever five computers you were using to play the music with, and which they graciously allowed you to do so, will be the five computers that you will be using forever to listen to that music.

The problem (well, one of the problems) with these kinds of DRM systems is that they're bad business: normally, when you press and sell a CD, you don't have to care about it anymore. It's zero cost. But when you have to run a computer system which needs to check every time someone wants to play some music that you sold them - well, that's an extra cost throughout the lifetime of the record. What you save in duplication costs, you pay for bandwidth and electricity and maintenance later on. And none of that is bringing you any extra money. You're stuck with a legacy that you will need to support perhaps for tens - even hundreds of years after the sale; something which you don't need to do with an LP, CD, or even a DVD. And if you're successfull, and you sell a lot, then you will need to be upgrading and upgrading all the time, since you need to support all of your customers ever.

I understand why it sounds like a good deal to turn off the support for your DRM servers after a while. You probably made your customers sign a contract where you say that "we'll run this service as long as we like", but still, it sounds like screwing the customer to me. "We'll give you this media, but you know, we could turn it off next year, and because of the legislation, there is no way legally you can watch the movies or listen to the music you bought."

Is it no wonder that people resort to piracy when the legal options are this bad?


A similar but worse story from last September. Virgin closed Virgin Digital: "After that, their songs will no longer be playable, thanks to the limitations placed on playback by the DRM technology built into each track."

--Hugo, 23-Apr-2008

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"Main_blogentry_230408_1" last changed on 23-Apr-2008 05:27:41 EEST by JanneJalkanen.
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