Former #1 EU music service MyCokeMusic to close down

Back in
January 2004, the Coca-Cola Company launched its own music service MyCokeMusic, which offers music in the WMA DRM format.  In just two months, they became Europe’s largest legal music download service; however they quickly lost their number one position when iTunes came to Europe in June.  Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there for MyCokeMusic and by November 2005, they fell to 4th place, at least in the UK.

According to Wippit, the main problem they suffered was over-restrictive DRM and high track pricing.  Most of MyCokeMusic’s customers started off from customers who came to the site to download tracks from free voucher codes they got with their Coke.  However, these free tracks were not so promising after all when consumers found that they would not play on MP3 players and the music cost more than other service providers. 

In fact, Wippit has reported that many former MyCokeMusic customers jumped to its service to escape the DRM and get their tracks cheaper.  Wippit is one of the few music services that legally sell MP3 tracks free of the dreaded DRM measures as well as for a flat rate fee.  With MyCokeMusic struggling to compete with other music download services, they have decided to close its service on July 31st. 

In November 2005 MyCokeMusic was in fourth place in the UK market just behind Wippit according to xtn Data. Two years ago, before the launch of the Apple music store it was in the number one spot. And now sadly, has passed over to the other side.

We (Wippit) mourn MyCokeMusic. It was yet another site that made us look good. Hampered by high pricing and DRM’d WMA files that famously timed out inexplicably, MyCoke’s initial success caused our sales to jump as we acquired customers of theirs that jumped ship once they realised their files were not going to play on their MP3 players and after the initial free download with a can of coke they were asked to pay much more per track than we charge. We were happy to sit in their slipstream and pick up their deserters.

Yup, mycokemusic will close its doors finally on July 31, though there will be no new sales from now. And what happens to the tracks that people bought or downloaded from it – you know, the DRM’d WMAs? They ought to work. And to think that mycokemusic was once the biggest download service in Europe. Before iTunes arrived, you know.

As MyCokeMusic provided its music as DRM crippled WMA files, it will be interesting to see what happens with the music purchased from its service once they finally shut down.  For example, if their server that authenticates the DRM is taken down, it is not clear how long the music will last before it needs to authenticate its license again.  Even if the music remains authorised indefinitely, problems would still arise should the consumer decide to upgrade to a new PC, reinstall the OS or do something else in which the music would need to reauthorize with the server.  

For example, one of the Dutch OD2 providers has decided to let music purchased from its service expire after content providers decided to no longer make their music available through the service.  CDs, MP3s and other non-DRM crippeld content on the other hand, if handled with care, will keep on playing even if the store they were bought from has long gone out of business.

Source: Guardian Unlimited