MSN Music retires, Zune launches

Another MSN service becomes content with the closure of MSN Music. With Microsoft launching Zune Tuesday, MSN Music will not become Windows Live Music, but become a delivery method of content. MSN Music will no longer be selling music, but point customers to Zune, Real Rhapsody, or other music services through Plays For Sure [i.e. URGE]. Any music already purchased will still be available under the same content usage rules.

MSN Entertainment is also introducing a new radio service through Pandora, and will also make their existing MSN Radio Plus service free in February. Refunds will be issued to anyone who still has unused song credits or an MSN Radio Plus subscription. Also, MSN Video is being expanded to feature more content from NBC Universal. Read more about the changes in an e-mail from Rob Bennett: General Manager, MSN Entertainment & Video Services.

MSN used to be focused on delivering à la carte items like MSN Plus, MSN Premium, MSN Personal Address, Microsoft Office Outlook Live, MSN Video Downloads, MSN Hotmail Plus, and the now closed MSN Chat as a premium option. Of course all but MSN Premium, MSN Video Downloads, and Hotmail Plus still exist today, and those services are under threat of being discontinued or transitioned to Windows Live as MSN becomes content only, and Windows Live takes all of the services. It’s clear that Microsoft is set on differentiating MSN and Windows Live.

That said, MSN is still going to continue developing content, as seen with Soapbox and MSN Originals. MSN may be changing, but it’s still going to be focused on delivering a great Internet experience through content.


PS–On a side note, did anyone see the Zune install error screen? Hmm…