When the Yahoo! Music Store closes on September 30, users will be losing more than just a venue for song and album downloads. Since its opening, the online store has utilized a digital rights management system that requires license keys for playback to protect all of its files. The closing of the music service now leaves subscribers in a bind.
According to an email sent to all Yahoo! Music Store users, “After the Store closes, Yahoo! will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for music purchased from Yahoo! Music Unlimited, and Yahoo! will no longer be able to authorize song playback on additional computers.” For users, this means that they will “not be able to transfer songs to another computer or re-license these songs after changing operating systems.”
To avoid losing the right to play their purchased tracks, only two options remain for subscribers. Unlimited subscribers can back up existing musical tracks onto a CD, thereby bypassing the need for a DRM license key. Otherwise, as the email enthusiastically notes, all subscribers can repurchase their lost tracks through Rhapsody, Yahoo! Music’s new partner.
Considering the fact that Yahoo! is not going out of business, insiders have questioned the short notice given to customers. When Microsoft’s MSN music store and Sony’s Connect music pulled similar stunts, subscribers forced Microsoft and Sony to support their tracks for an extended period. With the email announcement only two days old, Yahoo! may not be off the hook yet.