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Microsoft Unleashes Music Download And Streaming Service

Microsoft Corp. has forayed into the online music business by finally launching its music streaming and download service, tagged as “MSN Music”, almost four months later than it was originally planned.

The service will be available to music enthusiasts from Thursday 5th November, but the streaming part of the new service will be available to only a few thousands people who have been invited for testing purposes.

The service had been initially scheduled for the end of July. However, it took more time because the company wanted to launch it in high quality, according to Microsoft.

The software giant has already penned deals with four big brands in the music industry, namely EMI, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG, securing more than one million DRM-free tracks for download to make the launch a success.

The service would offer tracks at an average price of 79p, but users would have to use credits to buy tracks and they have to buy credit in packages.

Incidentally, users have to purchase package of at least 10 credits for £7.99 in order to buy music tracks or albums, with one track costing one credit.

Moreover, the tracks will be 192 kbps and available in both WMA and MP3 format.

“We think reading about music and listening to music are two halves of the same thing and we wanted to offer MSN users access to a competitive download to own service”, The Telegraph quoted Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN as saying.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.