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Media Media (Apple) Music

Yahoo Introduces Competitor for iTunes 819

Posted by timothy
from the rumblings-of-giants dept.
LadyDeath writes "After a year in development, Yahoo has launched its competitor to Apple's iTunes and Napster To Go, a subscription and download music service priced at only $4.99 per month. Tracks are offered in 192Kbps WMA, and can be transferred to portable devices. Perhaps most interesting to the Slashdot crowd is that the Yahoo! Music Engine is built on an open platform that facilitates plug-ins - both DLL and Web based. Podcasting and video playback plug-ins are already available." Update: 05/11 13:06 GMT by T : ian c rogers, formerly of Nullsoft, just led the build of the media player, and writes with information about "the the plugin architecture it supports as well as some of the 20 plugins that are already available for it. I've posted my thoughts on why someone should or shouldn't use the Yahoo! Music Engine on my blog."
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Yahoo Introduces Competitor for iTunes

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  • DRM (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrJules (566814) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:24AM (#12497138)
    ...devices supporting Microsoft's Janus digital rights management technology. jon.... Jon?
  • by bodger_uk (882864) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:25AM (#12497140)
    pointless DRM based lossy music service. Just what we all need. When will "they" realise that this isn't going to cut the mustard?
    • by Vo0k (760020) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:34AM (#12497176) Journal
      The problem is, either it's DRM'd or "very few songs". The condition for obtaining permission for selling many of the songs (from RIAA) is that they are DRM'd.
      But in the other hand, I wonder if they could go with a hybrid service - DRM only what has to be DRM'd, release the rest as "open". (even if that "only" was to mean 80% of their catalogue)
      • Zero chance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:40AM (#12497445) Journal
        DRM is not about control of the music as it pertains to customers giving it away. In the long haul, RIAA is trying hard to make sure that they control the paltform. Right now, their worst nightmare is that the music downright cheap to produce. In addition, the Internet is offering cheap PR/marketing. It is only a matter of time before the net wrest music production from RIAA/Labels and allows every musicians to own their own future.
    • by natrius (642724) * <niran&niran,org> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:41AM (#12497203) Homepage
      pointless DRM based lossy music service.

      It's mainly a subscription based service. It doesn't matter if it's lossy, because you're never converting the music to another format. Ever.

      When will "they" realise that this isn't going to cut the mustard?

      I'm willing to bet that this does cut the mustard for most people. If you use Windows and have a WMA player, this service seems fine as long as you don't mind all your music self destructing when you stop paying. But honestly, at $5 a month for music, I'd be willing to pay that for quite some time. That's the lowest monthly bill I'd have, and I'd get to access a huge library of music on demand.

      Too bad I use Linux and have an iPod shuffle.
      • by unclethursday (664807) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:55AM (#12497267)
        I'm willing to bet that this does cut the mustard for most people. If you use Windows and have a WMA player

        But, given how much market share the iPod (in all its incarnations) currently has, the prospect of being a Windows user with just a WMA player seems unlikely. If the iPod was just for the Mac, then yeah, you'd be right. But with the iPod also working with Windows, it gave the iPod the market share it now has... which is somewhere around 70%-75% or so of hard drive music players.

        Sure, there's more "choice" for Windows users with the ability to buy multiple brands of players with WMA support... but this choice hasn't been cutting into the iPod's market share, or at least not in any noticeable way as of yet.

        I don't have any sort of portable digital music player, but if I did, I'd get an iPod, and for various reasons. It's compact and easy to use; it has a decent battery life; and since I have a Mac, it can easily act as a FireWire external hard drive if I need it to. The music I have on my iBook is 4.59 GB... so I could get myself a 40 GB iPod and still have 35 GB of space for other things besides music. I could currently back up my entire hard drive's contents (music included) and still have almost 11 GB left over on a 40 GB iPod.

        I can't think of any WMA players that would let me do that, or at least none that would let me do that easily.

        • by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:09AM (#12497592)
          If you're willing to swap Firewire for USB, the iRiver hd-based players support WMA (as well as mp3 and ogg) and meet the rest of your requirements.

          Mine (an iHP-120) came with a CD, but I've never even unwrapped it. The player presents itself as a mass storage device and Just Works.
      • I bought 3 of these files recently, not from Yahoo, but another well known co. They were the WMA format. Once I got them I wanted to burn them to CD, well you can't. On top of that the next day I ran the Windows Media player, I got some message that it was 'updating my catalog' or some such nonsense. After that the WMA files would'nt play, said they could'nt find the codec. I called and emailed the place I bought if from, they said it was a windows problem, sent me to M$, they said it was a problem wit
      • I'd be willing to pay that for quite some time.

        The article suggested that $5/month was an introductory price for the first year. After that it will probably go up to $10-12 bucks.
    • by justforaday (560408) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:45AM (#12497224)
      "They" will realize it doesn't cut the mustard the moment that "you" realize that 99% of the consumers out there don't care whether it's DRM'd (so long as it's not incredibly prohibitive) or whether it's in a lossy format. Ever realize how most people can't tell the difference between FM and a CD?
      • Actually, the consumer does care. I've talked to plenty of people that have a story that goes like this:

        "My Dad downloaded some songs for me from iTunes music store but I can't play them on my computer."

        I've never actually had to deal with DRM'd music myself, but I'm under the impression that more than one computer can be authorized for some tracks. Either way, this is another step that the user doesn't understand ("why can't I just copy my files over the wireless network the nice ISP set up for us?"

    • by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:05AM (#12497576)
      When will "they" realise that this isn't going to cut the mustard?

      "They" will allow non-DRM formats when people stop sharing them with a few million of their closest friends. That's pretty much the only reason that Joe User would want a non-DRM solution. And yahoo would find it quite difficult to make people delete all of their music after unsubscribing from their service using the "honor system" alone.

      It isn't like their going to give in and let everyone have the music for free.
  • wow technology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xintegerx (557455) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:25AM (#12497143) Homepage
    $60 a year for music? I bet that this will encourage the prices of WMA players to drop, and hackers cracking the WMA format. By June 2005, we will have unlimited mp3's for $60 a year. Maybe somebody will create a file sharing network that will decrease the price even further.
    • Re:wow technology (Score:5, Insightful)

      by natrius (642724) * <niran&niran,org> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:35AM (#12497183) Homepage
      If you're paying $60 a year for music and buying a WMA player, what does hackers cracking the DRM have to do with anything?

      By June 2005, we will have unlimited mp3's for $60 a year.

      The only thing different from what's available now is "mp3". If you have a Windows computer and a WMA player, the restrictive DRM still lets you do everything you need to, namely play music. It's nice to be the first guy to say "I can't wait until they crack this," but chances are, nothing will change for you when they crack it.

      $60 a year for music is cheap, especially for people like me who don't appreciate the value of building up a music collection yet. If their DRM allows you to do everything you plan to do with the music, then buy it. Novel concept, eh?

      If the DRM doesn't allow you to do what you want, buy music from likeminded artists. [magnatune.com]
  • by pyite (140350) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:26AM (#12497147)
    I don't know how a music service that's intended to provide music for "portable players" can succeed when its format doesn't support the player that has 70 - 80% marketshare. It just seems like a losing proposition from the get-go.
    • by samael (12612) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:42AM (#12497213) Homepage
      When that portable player doesn't allow anyone else to support them, what else do you suggest?

      And Apple survives on 5% of the home computer market - why can't Yahoo survive on the 20% of the portable player market?
      • by rokzy (687636)
        >When that portable player doesn't allow anyone else to support them, what else do you suggest?

        this is the biggest load of BS ever. please explain yourself. why can't other people support mp3 constant, mp3 variable, AAC, wav etc. ?

        the only thing that you can be sure of is that if you have DRM WMV the only people legally using your service are Windows users. seems like yahoo is the one denying support from people.
        • by samael (12612) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:09AM (#12497319) Homepage
          The only reason Apple is allowed to sell mainstream music is because they support DRM.

          Yahoo will not be allowed to sell mainstream music without DRM. They cannot use DRM on the IPod. Therefore they cannot sell mainstream music for the IPod.

          It's not complicated.
      • by BenjyD (316700)
        You're comparing two different figures: Apple's actual market share, and Yahoo's potential market share: i.e. the percentage of people who *could* be customers.

        The *potential* market for Apple computers is anyone looking for a computer (100%), and they get 5% of them. The potential market for Yahoo is 20%, and they will then get some fraction of that.

        Of course, discussing market share figures like this assumes that only people with portable music players buy music online.
        • Potential vs Actual (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BobPaul (710574) *
          The *potential* market for Apple computers is anyone looking for a computer (100%), and they get 5% of them. The potential market for Yahoo is 20%, and they will then get some fraction of that.

          You make a very valid point, but why is the potential for Apple computers 100% when the potential for Yahoo is 20%?

          Obviously I understand that the Apple iPod accounts for nearly 80% of the market that Yahoo is entering, but IBM compatibles account for much more than that in the market Apple computer competes.

          Just
      • by wootest (694923) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:10AM (#12497599)
        A big part of why Apple survives in the home computer market is by providing good tools to a niche market - design, video editing, etc. Of course this is not their only market, but it's their bread and butter because they get to sell G5s to them, like office machines are Microsoft's bread and butter because they get to sell Office and desktop and server versions of Windows to them. Apple thrives in this market.

        Yahoo seems to offer a very good alternative to the other subscription services (low price, high bitrate, modularity in the system although I don't know yet about the size and quality of the catalog) and will likely also thrive in their market - subscription services. What remains to be seen is if subscription services are actually widely used and if they generate enough money to make it worthwhile for the vendor and the labels.
    • Every one seems to have missed that the Yahoo Music Engine is not just a music service, but is also a jukebox.

      It does support the iPod as lond as you use non DRMed MP3s or even AACs. See this screenshot [fistfulayen.com].

      It's only buying DRM tracks from a music store that "locks" you in to a player. If you buy your CDs online and rip them yourself you probably end up saving money and don't have any DRM issues.

  • Bandwagon, much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pieterh (196118) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:27AM (#12497149) Homepage
    The lifestyle segment will use iTunes.

    The power music consumers will use allofmp3.

    What segment are Yahoo selling to exactly, the confused?
    • Re:Bandwagon, much? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lidocaineus (661282)
      The power music consumers will use allofmp3.

      No they won't. They'll still go to their local record store and maintain the probably years-long relationship they've had with the folks running the store. They'll buy the CD or vinyl, rip it, and store the originals somewhere immaculate. Don't you know anything about real music freaks? The idea of not owning a track is abhorrent to them, and lossless compression is the devil only to be tolerated on low end equipment such as an iPod (and even then, there's
  • by Hieronymus Howard (215725) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:27AM (#12497150)
    It's hardly going to be a threat to iTunes. The DRM WMA files won't play on ipods, which have over 80% of the hard disk player market and 58% of the flash player market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:27AM (#12497152)
    I'm really getting sick and tired of all these competeing, incompatible and crippled formats.

    All I want is a standard format to purchase music in, that works on every player and that allows me to freaking do with the music I bought what I want.
    • by 1010011010 (53039) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:09AM (#12497320) Homepage

      The biggest advantage of Apple's FairPlay over Microsoft's DRM is that FairPlay establishes one set of rules for all items purchased via ITMS. With WMA, the rules are variable. You're never exactly sure what you're getting. FairPlay is a better deal for customers, and a more understandable one.

      Look at it another way. Hilary Rosen is advocating the death of ITMS and the iPod and their replacement with WMA-based services. What does that tell you about the two systems?
    • by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe.joe-baldwin@net> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:23AM (#12497368) Homepage Journal
      It's called "MP3".
    • And while we're wishing, I'd like a pony.
  • Hey George! (Score:4, Funny)

    by camperslo (704715) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:33AM (#12497171)
    Forget that WMD thing we never found across the planet, there's WMA right here and WMV around the corner.
  • haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:35AM (#12497181)
    I tried it out, the DRM is an annoying voice at the beginning of each song that goes "Yahooooooooo-oooooo!". Noone will copy that!
  • by jedrek (79264) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:36AM (#12497185) Homepage
    I, along with MILLIONS of people world wide, own an iPod (and an iPod Shuffle). They are, for my money, the best portable music players available. They sure aren't the cheapest - but I'm not a consumer for whom the prices is the main selling point.

    That said, my players won't play WMA, which makes Yahoo's years of development a moot point.

    I guess that the millions of 15-35 year olds who paid a premium price for our players aren't Yahoo's target market.
  • by g2swaroop (814719) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:44AM (#12497220) Homepage
    (Extracted from the Wall Street Journal May 10, 2005): The new service, dubbed Yahoo! Music Unlimited, will give individuals unlimited access to over a million music tracks for $6.99 a month, or, alternatively, for $60 a year. The service, which also lets users transfer the songs to select portable MP3-format music players, is priced far below rivals' services: RealNetworks Inc., for example, charges $179 a year for its comparable subscription service.
    • by 1010011010 (53039) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:12AM (#12497328) Homepage
      Just like Napster implies that's the case. Isn't it funny how WMA-based services tend to advertise themselves as MP3-based services? It's like WMA is unwanted by the marketplace, and service providers have to lie about it to sell product.
    • Let's put it this way. Yahoo will be providing 1) a piece of software that's a media player/playlist/tunes organizer, and 2) a music download service. The piece of software will play mp3s, and will happily transfer them to your portable. The download service gives you WMA files, with DRM. The software will not convert these to mp3.
  • by coffeecan (842352) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:50AM (#12497241)
    somehow the idea of paying $5 a month, even for unlimited downloads, is unappealing if i dont actuallly own the music. As much as I hate the nature of DRM at least Apple has come the close to drawing a balance between user control and "artists" rights. as fun as it might be to have unlimited access to music downloads I think the psycological barrier of not actually owning the music will keep most consumers out. At least with iTunes when you buy a song you allways have the option to burn an audio or Mp3 cd.
    • I have SBC Yahoo DSL. First they give you a discount price for a year, then they jack up the price after that. When I called them about lower priced offers, they say I can get that only if I also get the $80+ per month phone service.

      When Yahoo says they charge an introductory price of $5 per month the first year, that means they're going to charge you more after that. And since they're using MS Janus technology, if you don't renew your subscription for next year the software will delete all the songs you'v
    • Subscription services aren't really a competitor to buying music. You're not paying to own music, as you point out. You're paying to be able to listen to any of the ~ 50,000 albums they own, instantly, from your computer. The two important points are: 1) this is not a service that would be reasonable to expect for free 2) it is a service that is eminently useful if you spend much time near Windows and like a wide variety of music.

      The same point you made comes up every time there's an article about subscrip
  • by wazzzup (172351) <astromac@f[ ]mail.fm ['ast' in gap]> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @06:59AM (#12497284)
    $4.99 a month is great - really great. If I was running a platform that could play WMA I might even consider it but my Mac and my iPod won't play it. These format wars suck.

    Aside from a non-compatible format, I can't stand the thought of all my music going away if I don't want to subscribe anymore. Yes, I can then decide to buy the music but then you're faced with "Okay, I want to stop my subscription and keep these 50 albums but I don't have $500 to lay out right now." Then what? Live without the music or take out a loan.

    As a consumer of iTunes music, I am seriously considering going back to CD's so I get the full audio quality, the artwork and I can do whatever I want with it (i.e. send an mp3 to a friend 'hey, check these guys out - you might like them', etc.). While the iTunes DRM is fairly non-intrusive, I'm disliking DRM in any form more and more. I want my music for the long term. I want my kids to be able to play it 20 years from now if they want. I have zero guarantee of being able to do that with my iTunes DRMed music.

    Subscription-based services practically guarantee I won't be able to do any of those things.
    • Plenty of people will keep buying music for themselves for decades. If it only costs them five bucks a month for all-they-can-eat, that's a great deal. If you stop paying, do you really think Yahoo will delete your list of songs? No. If you start paying again you'll be able to download them over again.

      DRM is the future, you can't stop it. Your children in 20 years won't be able to buy plain old music CDs anymore because the RIAA won't release it unsecured like that. If they still sell physical media,
    • I keep all my music on my computer as fairly high quality MP3s, but nearly all of the new music I acquire now comes from CDs, even though I have used iTunes in the past. Using eBay or Amazon Marketplace it sometimes half as much, and the CD becomes a backup as soon as I rip it. If I lose the file, I have no trouble ripping it again, and I always have a high quality copy of the album stored away.

      It just seems like CDs are still win-win, whereas the only advantage online music stores have is that you get the

  • by natrius (642724) * <niran&niran,org> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:00AM (#12497286) Homepage
    It must be nice to watch this battle over the niche WMA market unfold from the comfort of Cupertino. These subscription services are a disaster waiting to happen. The WMA market isn't large enough to sustain all the vendors out there. Once the first subscription service folds, everyone will stay far, far away from them. "I paid money every month for my music, then it all went away because they had a crappy business model." Tragic.

    With Apple's model, there's no dependence on Apple's success for your music to play. You don't even have to depend on any specific hardware because you can burn it all to CD. $5 a month for the rest of my life for a huge library of music is an awesome deal. $5 a month for that library until the service folds and I'm left with no music isn't all that attractive.

    Someone needs to point me to the venture capital firms that back things things (except in Yahoo's case). I have an idea for a company. I think I'm going to call it Webvan.
    • "I paid money every month for my music, then it all went away because they had a crappy business model." Tragic.

      "I paid money every month for my electricity, then it all went away ..."

      "I paid money every month for my water, then it all went away ..."

      "I paid money every month for my cell phone, then it all went away ..."

      You aren't paying money every month to buy music, any more than you're paying money every month to buy a cell tower. What you are paying for is the ability to listen to any of the tens o
  • XSPF (Score:3, Informative)

    by Swedentom (670978) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:33AM (#12497409) Homepage
    What's also interesting is that the Music Engine supports XSPF, and open playlist standard. XSPF is not yet very widespread, but Yahoo's player has the potential to accomplish that.

    See http://www.xspf.org/ [xspf.org]
  • by michaeldot (751590) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:33AM (#12497412)
    Everyone seems to be getting into downloadable music game (I half expect to see a headline announcing Google Music one of these days).

    But is this a currently profitable market, or are they gambling on it being so in the future?

    The last financial briefing of Apple Computer stated that they had achieved "about break even" for the quarter.

    Break even? When iTunes is the currently the biggest thing around. Why even bother. Presumably for Apple, it's to provide a service to encourage more iPod sales with an easy way to fill them with music. But are the other services gambling on a future where many more people are buying downloads?

    What if it's another dotcom, where everyone is jumping into the game, but the profits just don't eventuate...?
  • Big deal (so far) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jht (5006) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @07:46AM (#12497473) Homepage Journal
    So all this is really is a cheaper Napster. Whoopee. It's still separate per-track pricing if you want to buy burnable music, and it still only works with WMA-supporting devices. The one thing Yahoo brings to the table here seems to be the fairly easy plugin extensibility, but it's not for supporting other formats, it's more for "cool stuff".

    So, in balance, it's a "nothing to see here, move along", but with the Yahoo brand name associated with it. No one WMA music store has been able to make a big splash so far, because of two things: the iPod rules the market at every price point, and thus far the market really is not terribly interested in subscription-based music - despite the endless efforts of the WMA-based companies and the music industry to convince us otherwise.

    In the unlikely event that subscriptions start taking off, Apple'll just add it to iTMS, anyways. Short of a sudden overnight shift in consumer tastes, this Yahoo store will just be fighting for their piece of the 20% of the market that simply refuses to associate with anything Apple.
  • by R34L (873028) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:30AM (#12497710)
    I hope Yahoo has contacted Craig @ http://www.flipflopflyin.com/ [flipflopflyin.com]
    about the use of his excellent pixel characters.
    that they use in the header at: http://music.yahoo.com/musicengine [yahoo.com]
    or more precisely: http://a1568.g.akamai.net/7/1568/1600/7a67bdc80db3 8d/music.yahoo.com/musicengine/images/hdr_main_web _beta.jpg [akamai.net]

    well hopefully he got paid or something for it...
  • by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:33AM (#12497723) Journal
    I used to buy songs off of itunes, but then I realized that I can buy just about ANY CD used for MUCH less off of Amazon. Plus the quality is going to be better than the compressed formats.

    If you are willing to wait instead of the "I need it NOW" mentality, you can save yourself a ton of money and have music without DRM and at a better quality.

    BUT...if you HAVE to have it NOW...then you have to put up with all of the BS that music download services shove...unless allofmp3.com has a flac version of what you need.....
  • by amichalo (132545) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:05AM (#12497849)
    To compete with anybody, you have to create market advantage. Going it on Price alone is pretty tough unless you price is REALLY low.

    Yahoo! has combined several elements that make this subscription service worth the price of two cups of Coffee at Starbucks:
    - Low price that undercuts competition by 50% +
    - $0.79 song burn ability.
    - Build your own/120 pre-built radio stations that stream commercial free music to your desktop (look out XM/Sirus?)
    - plugins for Instant Messenger and other applications that allow you to recommend songs to friends
    - Decent 1M song catalog to choose from (though 33% smaller than Apple's 1.5M - too bad)

    Yahoo! obviously looked at the landscape and said "we can't be on the iPod and we have to use WMA DRM, so how can we offer something competetive based on what exists today?"

    Now, I don't think Yahoo! is going to get the volumes to make this service profitable since $0.99 downloads don't leave much margin for, well, margin. But the service just might put pressure on Apple to release their own subscription service. And that would be a good thing.
  • by John Nowak (872479) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:19AM (#12497955)
    This idea that Apple is behaving like Microsoft by not supporting WMA playback is insane. Microsoft were the ones that ran off can came up with their own proprietary format in the first place! Apple is supporting the playback of open standards (mp4) and the most common format out there (mp3). How shocking that they do not support the proprietary format their competitor came up with for the sake of screwing them!
  • by SeattleGameboy (641456) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:29AM (#12498036) Journal
    I don't know why people are getting so hung up on DRM thing. Listen up people!!! You have CHOICES!!!

    There are 3 primary (legal) ways to get your music now.


    1. Buy a CD

    Pro: This is the most flexible option. You can burn as many times as you want, get the highest quality sound, nice storage format (CD's are nice and thin and you can fit thousands on a bookshelf), etc.

    Con: This is also the most expensive method, especially when you count all the bad tracks on a typical album.


    2. Buy a permanent download license for a digital track

    Pro: You can burn to a CD (which you can turn into MP3). Your license does not go away as long as your PC does not go away. Download to select portable devices.

    Con: Not as high fidelity as CD. Per song price is not better than a CD, if you lose your license somehow, it is good as dead.


    3. Get a subscriptioni license for a digital track

    Pro: Cheapest by FAR (per song)! Can download to select WMA portable devices.

    Con: Not as high fidelity as CD. Your license goes away if you end your service.

    Just choose whatever fits you best. What is wrong with that?

  • by lpangelrob2 (721920) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @10:34AM (#12498619) Journal
    ...for this relatively biased blog entry. He's the developer, though, so hey, I'll give him a break.

    FWIW, I don't care if people label me a karma whore, and I'm in the "I own a Mac [you insensitive clod]!" segment of "Reasons why not to use Y! media player" below. I highly doubt Yahoo! could duplicate the existing ease-of-use between applications on the Apple platform anyway and still have it be worth their time and money.

    Also, while iTunes was an obvious, admitted ploy to sell Apple hardware... it did work, didn't it? :-)

    --crap lameness filter--crap lameness filter--crap lameness filter--pretend this is a separator--

    While Yahoo! embarks on a proper marketing and PR campaign (shouts out to Liz and Charlene), I thought I'd give you (friends, family, fellow geeks) the real story, human to human, on why you should (or shouldn't) use the new Yahoo! Music Engine.

    FWIW, my name is Ian Rogers. I used to work with Beastie Boys, for their record label Grand Royal, at Nullsoft (where Justin and Tom made Winamp, SHOUTcast, and Gnutella), and most recently had a very small company called Mediacode with my main man Rob Lord (who started IUMA and brought Nullsoft up with Justin). We sold Mediacode to Yahoo! in Dec 2003 and Y! has had us in a cave ever since building the Yahoo! Music Engine and some other stuff we can't tell you about yet.

    But down to the reason you're reading this. I'm asking you to ditch Windows Media Player (aka WiMP, sorry John, Mark), Winamp (pour out a little liquor), iTunes (sorry Chris and Steve G), MusicMatch (apologies to my new brothers and sisters), Rhapsody (you were my first for-pay love, ya tramp), and Napster (THROW ANOTHER STACK OF BENJAMINS ON THE FIRE!), and use Yahoo! Music Engine instead. (If you're using Foobar2000, keep on, brother man, I ain't going to war with y'all purists.)

    Here's why you should switch to the Yahoo! Music Engine:

    For the Friends/Family:

    * PRICE! $5/month subscription service with subscription downloads (transfer your downloads to your subscription-capable device). Yes, this is the same set of features that Napster is charging you $15 for. This is what they call an "introductory price", kids. Buy a year now. I'm not kidding. It ain't going any lower than this, maybe ever. Buy now or regret missing out on the cheapest year of (legal) all-you-can-eat music ever in your life.
    * Personalization! I dunno about you, but ALL the other music services and stores seem incapable of showing me music I actually want without me searching for it. Our pages are PERSONALIZED TO YOUR MUSIC TASTE. The front page for me at the moment contains The Fall, Muddy Waters, Stevie Wonder, Television, and Clikatat Ikatowi. If you know me, you know they're doing pretty damn good.
    * CHOICE! If you don't like the idea of subscribing to your music, you can rip CDs, play downloaded music, or even spend $0.99/track if you'd like. Whatever your preference, we make it work. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING TO HAVE FUN WITH OUR PLAYER.
    * Community! AOL has the most popular instant message program and not one of their 500 media apps takes advantage of it! LAMERS! Ours allows you to LISTEN TO MUSIC FROM YOUR FRIENDS via Yahoo! Messenger! LEGALLY! YOU HEARD ME! Also, you can find users with tastes similar to you, view their collections, instant message them, whateva. Rad.
    * iPod support!Kinda! We support the iPod to the extent that Apple will let us -- which means we support transfer of non-DRM tracks (your ripped and "imported" content) to the iPod.
    * Huge catalog of the highest quality files of any paid service. Our subscription service and download store spits out dual-pass 192kbps WMA files. They sound hearty, even in my living room. And, there's LOTS of them. Music everywhere I turn. From mainstream to obscure. 1M tracks and counting. Shatner! Fela! The Germs!
    * Free, fast, MP3 (even high bitrates), AAC, Ogg, and FLAC encoding. We support the widest variety o

  • by Johnny Mozzarella (655181) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @11:04AM (#12498971)
    This begs two questions

    1) How long till some industrious chap writes a plug-in that will strip the DRM, convert to AAC and sync it with an iPod?

    2) How soon can Apple make an iPod that holds Yahoo's 1 Million songs?
  • Subscription? Bah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Otto (17870) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @11:34AM (#12499284) Homepage Journal
    Let's see..

    -99 cents to own a song for, essentially, forever...
    -or $5 a month to rent it for, essentially, forever...

    I've got enough monthly bills without adding one more to the mix, thanks. I don't need WMA's music rental model, at any price.
  • by MetaPhyzx (212830) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:59PM (#12503219)
    I own an iPod. Actually, two. I rip most of my CD's and buy from iTMS. While I'm not nuts about DRM (I'm up against the five computer limit allowed), I also don't see a viable alternative. WMA is unacceptable.

    Why? Well, I also own several G4 Power Macs running OS X. If you've ever used WMP on a Mac, you'll know it performs horribly. Even if it's the only thing running. I can imagine how WMA files will. On my linux boxes, I don't have a supported option. no iTMS, no nothing.

    Yahoo's music service doesn't support my OS of choice. Now, should I bitch and complain that they need to "open" it up? Or, am I served just as well by iTMS (the devil I know) and can realize, that they are somply catering to the majority?

    Yahoo's requirements:
    *
    Yahoo! Music Engine Software
    *
    Microsoft Windows XP or 2000
    *
    Internet Explorer 6.0+
    *
    Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher
    *
    Pentium III 300 MHz processor (WMP for Mac can't even RUN on a 300 MHZ Mac...hell a 600 MHz G4)
    *
    128MB Ram
    *
    Broadband connection for streaming and buying music
    *
    Latest Windows Service Packs

    Napster's requirements:

    PC only, Napster To Go-compatible player, Windows XP, Windows Media Player 10, Internet connectivity.

    So regardless, I'm locked out.

    All the railing I've seen in this thread about DRM, about choice, about how easy it is to license WMA... it's does not run/work well on a Mac. it does not run/work at all on linux. It also is not supported via these music stores on the Mac. They don't have a snazzy little front end. So isn't all the bitching about Apple's DRM not providing choice BS? You don't get choice of any other OS with Yahoo or Napster, so if I did have a Rio (which I do, but dont use anymore), I'm still a Mac user, so I'm locked out.

    Apple provides that interface for it's own OS (remember iTunes and by default iPods were Mac only for awhile) as well as Windows and I PRAY for Linux soon. So yeah, I have to live with thier DRM, but at least they service my need. To the others Mac users don't exist.
  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday May 12, 2005 @04:08AM (#12507253) Journal
    Disclaimer: I don't own a digtial musice player, but if I did it would be an iPod and there are a nujmber of reasons behind that.

    1. Confusion. There is a problem with the various Windows WMA music stores, a big problem: There are too many of them. Napster, Yahoo, MSN, Coke, Wallmart etc. Yahoo's store looks like the cheapest/month, at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that some other store will somehow compete pretty soon. The problem is that these stores are not compatible with one another (obviously) and that there is no vast difference between them. While they all offer subscription, only a few offer the ability to download and buy single tracks. This cannot be stated enough. All of these stores are fighting amongst one another for a small slice of the market. They all claim to be "The iPod/iTunes alternative", but the reality is that they fight amongst one another for the paying twice for the same song. Once to listen to it on subscription, and twice to "own" it forever.

    3. Features vs. Ease of use. All of these stores, and especially this Yahoo one, offer loads of features. Look at this idiot geek wetting himself about features like skins and plug-ins. He's basically saying that WinAmp is now part of an online store. The thing is that one of the reasons that the iPod and iTunes is so popular is that it is very very simple. It offers a basic, easy to understand business model. Basically, it is, you pay for a song and you can play and do with it what you want afterwards, basta.

    The iPod doesn't have built in TV, FM, or a razor. It just plays music. It's also simple.

    Most people just want to listen to their music that they bought. They are not interested in skins for the player, or OGG format or having to fork out next month's payment.

    4. All of Apple's competitors complain about the iPod and iTunes not being "open". What they are essentially complaining about is that they don't have a slice of the pie. If they were in Apple's position, they wouldn't open their stuff to Apple either.

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