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Microsoft plans U.K. music-streaming service

Confirming a story in the Telegraph, a Microsoft representative tells CNET News that MSN is making a return to the music service business, at least in Britain.

MSN has made several entries--and several exits--from the music service business, but apparently it is ready to try again, at least in the United Kingdom.

"In the coming months, MSN is planning to launch a new music-streaming service in beta via its Music channel in the U.K.," a Microsoft representative told CNET News. "At this stage we won't be confirming the details behind this but more information will be available soon and will be communicated in due course."

Microsoft first mentioned the service in a report in the Telegraph newspaper.

"Music is an important area for Microsoft," MSN executive Peter Bale told the newspaper. "We are looking at launching a music-streaming service imminently."

Microsoft already has a music-streaming product in the U.K. through a partner, however this new service would be based on in-house technology acquired through its Musiwave purchase.

Microsoft launched an MSN Music download business in 2004, but pulled the plug two years later and started promoting RealNetworks' Rhapsody as part of a settlement with that company. It then launched the Urge service in partnership with MTV before shifting its energy to the Zune service and player.