Microsoft Previews Music Store At SxSW

SxSW was originally a venue for independent artists and film makers to showcase their talents. Long ago, it became dominated by major labels, big Hollywood stars, and other powerful interests in the entertainment industry keen on using the event to promote their latest ventures. Perhaps the most fitting example of this is the fact that Microsoft chose SxSW to preview its long-awaited answer to Appleis iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

CNet News is reporting that Big Redmond showed its music store to independent labels, promising to launch the service in the second half of this year. From CNet News:

Microsoft said last Friday that the second half of the year will see the launch of its online music store, a long-expected entry into an increasingly crowded business dominated by Apple Computeris iTunes.

The software giant this week began offering sneak peaks of the service to independent record labels at the South by Southwest trade show in Austin, Texas. Though Microsoft remains mum about specific details, this weekis dog and pony show signals the companyis heightened ambitions to enter the world of online music sales with a bang.

Microsoft will promote its music store primarily through its Web portal, according to company spokeswoman Lisa Gurry. Visitors will be able to sign up via MSN and browse a catalog of songs and albums to purchase and download onto their computers. Gurry declined to comment on pricing or on the number of songs Microsoft plans to initially release on the service.

Thereis more information in the full story at CNet News: