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.
“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.