Sony Kills Their Music Store

firing_squad_sony.jpgIt was announced in passing during today's press event, but now it's official in their site, FAQ included: the Sony Music Store will be dead dead dead after March 2008. The eBook service won't be affected, but the music is going the way of the Dodo as they embrace the openness. Read on for Sony's explanations, excuses and other marketing yaddah-yaddah.

When is the store closing? Specific timing will vary by region depending on market demand, but it will not be before March 2008. Connect customers will be informed of relevant details in advance.

Why is the store closing? We are moving to the open Windows Media® platform in North America. In line with that, Sony will phase out the CONNECT™ Music Service in the U.S. and Canada. Specific timing will depend on market demand, but will not be before March 2008. To be clear, the CONNECT eBook service for the Sony Reader will not be affected.

What will happen to my music library (content I own)? Customers' existing SonicStage® music libraries are not at risk, but we recommend that customers archive their music libraries to audio CDs.

What about all the music I ripped from my CD collection? Even after the store closes you will continue to be able to play, manage, and transfer the music in your SonicStage library and on your existing ATRAC devices. We will also provide a tool to allow you to convert any non-DRM music you imported (ripped) into SonicStage into MP3 format. This tool will be available soon via CONNECT Support. The MP3 Conversion Tool is available now for download from http://www.sony.com/walkmansupport.

What can I do with ATRAC content that has DRM (Digital Rights Management)? For your purchased music from CONNECT, you can burn it to audio CD and re-rip it into MP3 format to continue enjoying it for personal use.

What if I have problems after the store closes? You will be able to download the latest version of SonicStage software and have contact with CONNECT Support through at least March 2008. CONNECT customers will be informed of relevant details, including future support options. Go to http://www.sony.com/connectsupport and click "Email Customer Support".

What will happen to any devices (music players) I currently own? Even after the store closes you will continue to be able to play, manage, and transfer the music in your SonicStage library and on your existing ATRAC® devices. Customers' existing music libraries are not at risk, but we recommend that customers archive their music libraries to audio CDs.

What about any promotional credits I currently have? We recommend that you redeem any unused codes before March 2008 so they do not go to waste. Promotional codes have no monetary value as per our Terms and Conditions. Click here to find out how to check and see if you have any credits in your account.

Will I be able to download music I paid for if I get a new computer? You will be able to download any music you purchased from CONNECT via your Account section until at least March 2008. We recommend that customers archive their music libraries to audio CDs.

Will I still be able to transfer content to my device(s)? Even after the store closes you will continue to be able to play, manage, and transfer the music in your SonicStage library and on your existing ATRAC devices. You may also transfer new music you may have bought online from an increasing number of DRM-free music retailers offering compatible formats, such as MP3.

Will CONNECT continue to add new songs to the store? At some point we will stop adding new music to the store, but the timing is still to be determined.

How will customers be informed of relevant details regarding the status of the music store? Registered users will receive the information via the email address they have provided. Information will also be posted on the CONNECT music store and on the Sony Electronics Customer Support site.

[Sony]