Microsoft Unveils Music Service

There are no details on the size of the catalogue available, or what the pricing is going to be like, but Microsoft finally unveiled its forthcoming music service at the South By Southwest music conference in Texas.

Microsoft chose to demonstrate its new music service in a private preview to independent music labels – a smart move. MSN product manager Christine Andrews said “Other companies took a different route and did not engage with the independent labels early in the process. We heard that the independent labels did feel neglected a little bit. But, more importantly, we want to deliver a site that is great for artists both big and small, and great for the consumers too.”

The tracks will initially be available in Microsoft’s own Windows Media format – though it is thought that MS might make other formats available too. What ever they turn out to be, you can bet it won’t be AAC.

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?