Sony to kill off Connect music store, proprietary ATRAC format

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Sony to kill off Connect music store, proprietary ATRAC format

Culver City (CA) – Customers with an extensive library of songs on Sony’s Connect store will need to act quickly before their collection essentially gets wiped out early next year.

In an announcement today, Sony confirmed that Connect will discontinue service in March 2008.  At that time it will also officially end support of its proprietary DRM-ridden ATRAC format.

This means that all ATRAC songs will become virtually invalid next March.  Music collections on Connect will essentially be locked and for the most part, unaccessible.

Sony will begin a new digital audio strategy, as its future line of music players will support Windows Media, MP3 and AAC files, but not ATRAC.  The media giant suggests users burn their existing Connect collection to CDs to have DRM-free versions of the tracks before the March change-over.

According to an e-mail sent to Connect customers, users will still be able to transfer ATRAC files to and from existing compatible players, but they won’t be compatible with new Walkman devices.  Users also won’t be able to transfer purchased music to new computers after March.

Also, “we recommend that you use any outstanding promotional codes, account credits or gift certificates available in your music account prior to March 2008,” writes Sony in the e-mail.