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Summary:

Earlier this week, someone asked me what’s up with Yahoo Music, and their Music Match service. Since, Yahoo is not my preferred source of digital music, I admit, I completely forgot about them, and the fact that they had paid $160 million for Music Match back […]

Earlier this week, someone asked me what’s up with Yahoo Music, and their Music Match service. Since, Yahoo is not my preferred source of digital music, I admit, I completely forgot about them, and the fact that they had paid $160 million for Music Match back in September 2004. The last update we had was from August 2006 when some rebranding happened, but that doesn’t really tell us how the service is doing. (MusicMatch’s Alexa graph is horrifying, but that’s neither here or there.) We updated the post and have a slide after the turn which paints a pretty good picture actually.)
As luck would have it, Andrew Schmitt wrote a blog post based on a chat with some tech support person that indicated that Yahoo Music was going to be shut down. That was not the case, once we checked with Yahoo, though it was late in the day on Friday. Nevertheless, all that poking around led me to this blog post that reveals that Yahoo Music is about to raise its prices… again.

On November 14, 2006, the cost of a new Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription will increase from $6.99 to $8.99 per month. Despite this price increase, Yahoo! Music Unlimited will still offer the lowest price of any major subscription music service — now with a catalog of more than 2 million songs!

The good news is that if you sign up now, you can continue to pay $4.99 a month, or about $60 a year. Of course, the service is not available for Mac users. It would be great to get a subscription service for Mac, independent of Apple, just because these days many of the albums/songs that are showing up are not worth spending money on. Okay, I take it back – Husky Rescue’s recent single is worth the price, so is Natalie Walker’s Quicksand.

PS: Anyone have data on what company has what percentage of the digital music subscription market in the US and world wide?

By Om Malik

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  1. You can use the Rhapsody web service (not the client) on the Mac. It’s the only way that I know of to listen to subscription music on OS X. All you need is a browser plugin. It is lacking features though (drag and drop playlist creation…).

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  2. Big picture for Yahoo Music…

    (i) Its easier to discover new music with Pandora or Last fm’s systems

    (ii) With people like allofmp3 around, why pay for DRM’d music and take all the risk of what happens to the DRM down the line.

    (iii)The metadata isn’t that great, so no added value there.

    If I were them I would totally revamp the proposition more in line with Web 2.0 principles…with their brand and market power they have an opportunity to make a market.

    Charging more for an existing subs play is not it.

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  3. Why do you always ask annoying questions at the end of your posts? Aren’t you supposed to be the reporter who researches these topics and provides us with relevant information? A valuable discussion might ensue.

    “PS: Anyone have data on what company has what percentage of the digital music subscription market in the US and world wide?”

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  4. Rhapsody online is seriously lacking for OSX users. It is missing important features (per Toby) and for some reason the streaming reliability suffers via the browser plug-in. Frustrating.

    It’s too bad, because when used via their PC client software, Rhapsody provides a really great alternative to iTunes for those of us who like to be able to sample and enjoy a wide range of music without being forced to buy it first.

    As for Yahoo, when it first launched, thier service was a threat to companies like Rhapsody and Napster b/c they priced it below cost with the assumption that they would make it up by advertising and cross selling other services. Perhaps it didn’t work out. They haven’t made a real dent in the market and now their prices are coming up to a level that is more sustainable for the long term.

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  5. Did, you, just, learn, about, commas, today?

    C’mon Om!

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  6. Reader,

    good point about research. i could not find relevant information, and as a result posed the question about market share. there are some folks who have access to that specific data and they can share it with me. i had emailed a few research groups, but have not heard back. anyway… thanks for your comments.

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  7. This is the body of the email that came today from Y! Music (the #1 music destination on the web, reaching more than 24 million unique visitors each month in the US):

    Greetings Yahoo! Music Unlimited Subscriber,

    We’d like to give you a heads up about an upcoming change to Yahoo! Music Unlimited.

    On November 14, 2006, the cost of a new Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription will increase from $6.99 to $8.99 per month. Despite this price increase, Yahoo! Music Unlimited will still offer the lowest price of any major subscription music service — now with a catalog of more than 2 million songs!

    Because you’re a valued subscriber, we’re extending your current rate for an extra month and your credit card will not be charged at the new rate until after December 13, 2006. We’re also giving you an opportunity to upgrade to an annual subscription before November 14, 2006 and lock in the current low price of $4.99 per month (billed in one installment of $59.88). Click here to upgrade to an annual subscription.

    To view or edit your account, log in at https://billing.yahoo.com using your Yahoo! ID and password. If you do not want to subscribe to Yahoo! Music Unlimited at the new rate, you must cancel your subscription before December 14, 2006. If you have more questions, you may contact Customer Care.

    Thanks for using Yahoo! Music Unlimited.

    • The Yahoo! Music Team
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  8. I am a little bummed about all of Yahoo’s music strategy. When Yahoo acquired Musicmatch, which I have been using since version 1.0, I was quite excited to see where things would go, but Yahoo has done a terrible job of integration. I still use Yahoo’s subscription service, but all these price increases do not bode well. I still like the subscription model. The problem I have is all the DRMed purchases I have made (mostly from musicmatch). At this rate, I might just have to move to iTunes, which I avoid like the plague.

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  9. First, I apologize for going nuclear with the spamming.

    At your earliest convenience, please help me with a school project by participating in the following survey on blogging at http://www.stellarsurvey.com/response/s.aspx?u=6936.

    I am writing a law review article on blogging and the role of blogs in the FCC media ownership debate, along with how blogs affect our conception of media and any correlation it may have to broadcasting. The personal background questions in the survey will provide insight into the demographics of bloggers and what the results might mean in relation to underrepresented groups or classes.

    The survey is anonymous. The more participants the better, so if you’re feeling really nice, then please persuade everyone you know online to participate as well.

    Thanks!

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  10. I subscribe to Yahoo Unlimited service, and really like it. It’s still crazy cheap so long as you actually use it. It’s half the price of Netflix, for example.

    I suspect a lot of folks still think about music as something to own. I’ve really gotten used to the idea of thinking of it like cable TV. I thought the change in mindset would happen sooner, but perhaps iTunes’ dominance is the reason.

    Regarding the DRM issue, it’s only an issue if you want to own the music. And I do sympathise — when I buy a track I don’t like having to worry about it. But DRM is fine in a sub model. I expect to get the music while I pay my monthly fee, and not after that. So DRM is not an impediment in that case.

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