MSN Mobile Music: Doomed To Be An Epic Fail

Here’s a recipe for disaster:

  • Open new music store for mobile phones
  • Put DRM on every track at a time when everyone else is ditching DRM.
  • Tie it to the individual mobile phone so that you can’t take your music with you if you switch phones.
  • Charge more than everybody else.

If you do all that, you get MSN Mobile Music which launched yesterday in the U.K. Everything on that list should result in this service being screwed from the start, but it actually gets worse. When questioned by tech website PC Pro, they had some interesting things to say:

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM when the vast majority of music services have ditched it?

It’s a first step. We’re doing this in conjunction with a third-party provider. We’ll be looking to enhance the service if we get some interest from consumers. They certainly tell us that they like listening to music while they are out and about, on their mobile phones.

At the moment, to be honest with you, we don’t have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC. We don’t have that functionality available.

With DRM on your tracks, I guarantee that the interest from consumers will be zero. And there’s this:

If I buy these songs on your service – and they’re locked to my phone – what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months’ time?

Well, I think you know the answer to that.

What the hell does that mean? I have to purchase the songs all over again? Are you kidding me? The next one is even better:

Can you really expect people to buy music that’s locked to a device they upgrade every 12 to 18 months?

I didn’t realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days. I’m sure there are some users who change their phone every year. This is an introduction – it’s a toe in the water for MSN Mobile and we’ll see how the service develops and we’ll keep a very close eye on it, and we’ll look to amend and change it as necessary as time progresses.

Are you serious? Where have you been for the last few years? Clearly not in the same reality as the rest of us.

If Microsoft’s business is based on these assumptions, then this service is doomed to fail. Given the fact that they just laid off 5000 people, this couldn’t have come at a worst time for them.

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