Oh snap. MSN to discontinue Soapbox (we’re screwed)

soapbox_thumb_427dc3d9 Featured News Here’s one from the “saw this coming from a mile away” department.  After “scaling back” the user uploaded video service last month, today an email confirmed that the other shoe has dropped, and that MSN Soapbox will be closing.  Users will not be able to upload video to Soapbox beginning July 29, with all content unavailable (read: gone) after August 31, 2009.  Here’s the full text of an email sent out to Soapbox users today:

Attention Soapbox Users,

MSN will no longer offer Soapbox, the user generated video service within MSN Video, as of August 31, 2009. Beginning on July 29, you will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox. People who have uploaded videos to Soapbox will have until August 31, 2009 to download them. Please make sure you download your videos by this date if you would like to keep them. We will have a notice running in the Soapbox service to remind you to download your videos. It is our goal that you download and keep all of the videos you uploaded that are important to you. Online video is a key part of the MSN experience and we will continue to offer a rich experience on MSN Video. We will also continue to invest in delivering great customer experiences, while keeping a keen eye on our business objectives during this tough economic climate. Thank you for your support of MSN Video. More details and download instructions are available at: http://video.msn.com/shutdown.html

Thank you for using Soapbox.

The MSN Video Team

Since LiveSide has tried to “eat the dogfood” and use Microsoft and Windows Live products wherever we can, what this means for us is an enjoyable month of downloading (at some agonizingly slow speed, we’re sure) the video interviews we’ve had hosted on Soapbox, and setting them up to be hosted on our own server.  We have the space and the bandwidth (not really a problem as old interviews aren’t in high demand), so we’re only out the time this will take us, and the annoyance.  A lot of work just to maintain our old content, but hey if we didn’t like pain we wouldn’t deal with Microsoft to begin with!  After that, we’ll probably follow Bing’s lead and open a YouTube channel (Warning: clicking on that link may subject you to that awful Bing Jingle contest, be forewarned).

UPDATE: Just to clarify (and to make this whole mess even more enjoyable), you can’t actually download MSN Soapbox videos until July 29th.  From the FAQ:

Q: Can I recover the videos I’ve uploaded to Soapbox?
A: Yes, on July 29, 2009 log into your personal profile, roll over the thumbnail of the video you want to keep and click on the download link that appears.