Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sony euthanizes Sony Connect

So long Sony Connect, we hardly knew ye. I don't even use iTunes, so truthfully I've never come close to checking out Connect. I'm also not fond of content being locked down into a particular format that can only be played on a particular player. MP3 might not be technically the best, but man, I can play them on my grill if I need to.

This story from Arstechnica discusses some of the challenges facing Connect customers.

Sony's love for proprietary formats and desire to create a closed music-hardware ecosystem à la Apple did it in. Its insistence on sticking with a proprietary format supported only by its own digital audio players garnered little love from consumers distracted not only by the iPod, but by the large number of WMA-compatible PlaysForSure devices.

Sony has posted a Connect Music Service Phase Out FAQ, which offers technical guidance to those who purchased music from Sony's online story. Sony's SonicStage software and older hardware will continue to support ATRAC, but the company says that those who purchased DRMed ATRAC content should rip the music to CD and then re-rip it to MP3 if they want it to play on the new Walkmans. Sony also notes that consumers will be able to continue to use the music in their SonicStage libraries and on players supporting ATRAC after Sony Connect closes. The Connect eBook service will continue to operate after the music store closes.

At least Sony will continue to support DRMed music sold through Sony Connect. When Google decided to close the virtual doors to the Google Video Store earlier this month, the search giant informed its customers that the closure would render the videos unplayable, offering them a Google Checkout credit in lieu of an actual refund instead. After heavy criticism, the company then had a change of heart, promising to issue refunds for purchased videos along with the Google Checkout credits. That's one of the dangers of DRMed content—if the company behind it decides to get out of the business, you may be left unable to view or listen to your content.

That and this quote from the Digg story is just plain fun.

If a music store closes on the Internet and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? Sony has decided that it wasn't cut out for the online music business after all.

read more | digg story

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