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Old 08-26-2004, 08:00 PM
James Fee
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Default MSN Music Store to Open Next Week

"Apple's iTunes music store is about to face some serious competition, as online giant Microsoft prepares to roll out its own music store on September 2nd. With the ability to funnel 350 million users a month to the store via its Hotmail, Messenger and MSN sites, Microsoft will likely become the number-two player in the market for legally downloaded music and ultimately could challenge Apple's reign at the top. The company has kept details of the Microsoft music store under wraps and declined to comment for this article. But according to sources close to Microsoft, the store will open to the public with somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000 tracks for sale at ninety-nine cents apiece. Within a couple of months, it will match Apple's 1 million offerings. Reports that Microsoft will use its financial clout to become the first site to offer the Beatles catalog (the band reportedly demands tens of millions of dollars for a long-term exclusive arrangement) could not be confirmed."

Of course they shouldn't affect iTunes too much since most iTunes users are locked into the service due to lack of WMA support on the iPod, but all other music stores should be very worried. I guess it is goodbye to Napster, MusicMatch and Real. Still competition is good for all of us. I'm looking forward to Apple's response.

The talk about integration into their search, webmail and instant messaging products should be interesting. Also getting exclusive content such as the Beatles and even The Rolling Stones would really set MSN music apart.
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