MSN Music Store Tracks Transfer to Windows Mobile Devices

Whoever spread the rumor that songs purchased from the new MSN music store won’t work on Smartphones and Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile OS is dead wrong!! As a test of the service, I purchased Iowa folk legend Greg Brown’s Over and Under album. The purchase process is just like all the other download stores, except the music store is tied into .NET Passport, like everything else on The download happened automatically, organizing the songs in folders by artist and album in the My Music folder.

With the download complete, I cradled my iPAQ 4155 and switched WMP10 to the Sync tab. It recognized both the device and the SD card as valid transfer locations. Using the default selection to transfer music to the Pocket PC’s onboard memory, I added one song from the Greg Brown album to my sync playlist and clicked Start Sync. The transfer went without a error. Playing the song on the Pocket PC worked.

Next test: the storage card. I picked two different songs from the Greg Brown album and started the transfer. With the copying complete, I opened the Pocket PC Windows Media Player and played both songs. To make sure this was not a fluke, I tried a second SD card; still no problem.

As you can see in the screen shot at the right, Pocket PC Windows Media Player lists DRM’d songs with the Protected Status: Yes designation.

Apparently there is some potential for storage cards to fail, but it’s no fault of the MSN store. Windows Media DRM uses information stored in the IOCTL_DISK_GET_STORAGEID portion of the storage card drivers to determine whether the card is a valid transfer device or not. If the storage card manufacturer didn’t use the standard method of implementation for this variable, the DRM license negotiation process can’t tell that the storage card is a storage card. The two cards I tried were from Lexar and SanDisk. My geuss is, if you stick with known storage card vendors, you will never encounter a problem.