Yahoo! to shut down music service

Yahoo! has announced that its music service will shut down on September 30. Customers who have purchased music from Yahoo! Music Unlimited have until then to transfer their libraries to other devices. The decision marks Yahoo!’s withdrawal of support for protecting content via Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Microsoft’s MSN Music made a similar announcement in April, but has since changed its policy.

Yahoo! Music Unlimited notified customers earlier this week in an email that says: “After September 30, 2008, you will not be able to transfer songs to unauthorised computers or re-license these songs after changing operating systems. For any user who purchased tracks through Yahoo! Music Unlimited, we highly recommend that you back up the purchased tracks to an audio CD before the closing of the store.”

“The time for DRM-protected tracks has passed,” according to Michael Spiegel, Yahoo!’s senior director of music. “We want people to make the transition now.”

Microsoft has decided to do the opposite. Having said it would remove DRM from music it sold, it has now decided to release authorisation keys for copy-protected songs and says it will issue keys for the next three years.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes Yahoo! should compensate its customers for shutting down the service. “This isn’t just about withdrawing support,” Corynne McSherry, an attorney at EFF says. “It’s about compensating customers. This is pretty outrageous. Yahoo! should either replace Yahoo! Music customers’ libraries with open MP3s or issue refunds,” McSherry says.

Yahoo! established a strategic partnership with RealNetworks’ music service, Rhapsody, earlier this month. This deal likely facilitated the shutting down of Yahoo! Music Unlimited. Yahoo! recommends that customers transfer their music libraries to Rhapsody.

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Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast;

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