MSN Music launches; online music now officially commodity

The beta of MSN Music, the online music service from Microsoft (my former employer), launched yesterday. And unless I’m missing something, it looks very much like the same content being offered by all the other for-pay music download sites. No Beatles, no Radiohead, no Connells, light on the old school 80s rap.

In fact, it looks a lot like the other services, but requires Passport, a recent flavor of Windows, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player.

If I were a business developer for MSN music, I would be pushing hard to get exclusive artists and content. As a customer (note: I did not say, nor will I ever say, consumer), I’m actually kind of glad to see another storefront open up presenting the same goods in a slightly different format. It means that online music is becoming a commodity just as online CD purchases did, and we as customers can look forward to more and more benefits as retailers try to differentiate themselves, and as artists and labels realize that the online stores, not the Towers and HMVs, is where they should be concentrating their efforts.