Yahoo! has announced that its music store will be going offline at the end of September, taking with it the authorization keys for any music purchased. This appears to be something of a trend lately, with Microsoft announcing similar plans, only to go back on its original plans a few days later.
As Ars Technica puts it, "The bad dream of DRM continues" -- "Once the Yahoo store goes down and the key servers go offline, existing tracks cannot be authorized to play on new computers."
Major League Baseball and Google Video have both pulled similar stunts, with Google at least providing a refund for the media, but no DRM-free replacement.
Yahoo's own Ben Patterson spoke to Michael Spiegelman, the senior director for Yahoo! Music, about keeping the DRM servers going, like MSN has promised to do...
"We can't really talk to the specific numbers [in terms of cost]," said Spiegelman, adding that Yahoo! uses a third-party service to host its DRM license keys. "To be honest, it's a question of whether we want to spend the money supporting DRM tracks, versus spending that money on what people really do want [subscription and/or DRM-free music]."
When asked about replacing any purchased, DRM'd Yahoo! Music tracks with the equivalent DRM free tracks from Rhapsody, Spiegelman replied "We'll take those situations in a case-by-case fashion... We will be able to help users out who have a large number of tracks... We're not saying that that would be an impossible option... We'll see how much of a demand there is for it."
Are you a Yahoo! Music customer? Contact Yahoo! Support and demand DRM-free replacements for all the songs you've legally purchased.
Update: Yahoo: We'll Reimburse Users for Terminated Music
CNET is reporting that customers will be offered refunds or DRM-free downloads, while Wired News is saying any DRM-free downloads could break any agreements Yahoo! has with record labels.