Today, in the ‘stupid’ category, I present MSN Music UK, which just started offering mobile music downloads. Sounds cool, right? Who wouldn’t want instant access to over 1 million tracks, 25,000 ‘realtone’ ringtones, and even 10,000 music videos? Well, for starters, me. I don’t, not at these prices, and with these restrictions.
Let me spell this pricing out for you – first off, it’s all DRM’d. DRM stands for Digital Rights Restriction Management, and basically makes sure that you only play back your media on specific devices. Imagine if you bought a CD, but it would only play in the car you were driving when you bought it. To play it in your friend’s car, or in your home stereo, you would need to purchase a new copy. Completely silly. With MSN Music’s new tracks, they’re DRM’d to only play on the DEVICE you bought it on – yeah, that’s right, you can’t even back it up on your computer to play back there, or move it to a new phone without paying.
So, now that we understand the ‘freedom’ in the music, surely it’s cheap, right? Wrong. You’re looking at 1.50 GBP for each full music track, 3 GBP for each Realtone ringtone, and 2 GBP for each music video. Wait, what?! Yes, you would pay twice as much for the ~30 sec. ringtone than you would for the whole stinkin song. Amazing.
Now that we’re apalled at the pricing by itself, let’s compare to some other online music stores. First up, the requisite iTunes: .79 GBP per track, with DRM that allows for multiple devices and computers. Nearly half the price of MSN Music. Amazon.co.uk is as cheap as .59 GBP, and those are actually straight up DRM-Free MP3s, you can play them on nearly whatever you want.
Anyone noticing a trend, here? It sure looks to me like DRM’d music is MORE expensive, increasing with the level of restriction. Amazing. MSN Music U.K., you’ve failed. Miserably. And you Brits out there, if any of you purchase anything from MSN Music, you’ve failed, too. Congratulations.