Microsoft has resurrected MSN Music, a download-to-own music site, which it claims boasts over a million DRM-free songs, and also offers free music streaming.
Peter Bale, executive producer, MSN UK said: ‘The new MSN download service complements the news, video and pictures we offer in MSN Music – the second-largest music content site in the UK.’
The addition of free online music streaming pits MSN Music against rivals such as Spotify. Unlike Spotify, however, advertising is solely on-screen, rather than audio adverts between music tracks. The MSN Music online streaming service will launch as a beta version, available initially only to limited numbers of invited users.
Read the Which? beginners’ guide to Spotify
Site integrates with Microsoft Zune
The MSN Music site, previously run by Nokia, was closed last year but has now been resurrected based on the same platform that powers the Zune marketplace in the US.
The Zune is Microsoft’s digital music player, currently only available in the US, and Microsoft stressed that the MSN Music announcement did not indicate an imminent Zune launch in the UK.
MSN Music download credits
Users can log in to MSN Music using an existing Windows Live ID but will need to buy credits before they can download music. A pack of ten credits costs £7.99.
Microsoft claims that MSN Music ‘will allow users access to over one million tracks from all the major labels’, however, the company would not confirm individual labels or artists available on the site.
Downloading a standard single track costs one credit, while downloading an album costs ten credits.
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