Yahoo Music Unlimited Threatens iTunes, Napster and Real
Yahoo just dealt Apple, Real Networks, and Napster a serious blow with the launch of Yahoo Music Unlimited, a paid music download service which undercuts Yahoo’s rivals with a $6.99 a month charge or $.79 per track download and also offers the option of paying just $60 a year for unlimited access to over 1,000,000 songs from all four major record labels and many independents. Of course, all songs can be transfered to portable players.
Apple iTunes and other music stores charge an average of 99 cents for one song. Napster and other subscription services charge about $15 a month. Inside Google reports that “Yahoo is charging exactly a third of what Napster To Go charges for portability, and exactly half of Napster’s non-portable music service. If you pay for the whole year up front, it comes out to a measly $5 a month, and it doesn’t charge extra for portability like others, despite using the exact same technology Napster and RealNetworks use, Microsoft’s Janus technology.”
Yahoo will also be leveraging the power of its other services. Yahoo Instant Messenger users will be able to browse playslists and listen to songs on other YIM user’s computers, so long as both users as subscribers. Yahoo’s current music services, including Launchcast, attract 25 million users a month, a considerably large userbase it can attract.
Yahoo Music General Manager David Goldberg said the company could eventually raise its prices. “We’re not saying it’s the price forever, but we’re assuming it’s the price throughout the Beta (trial) period, which is an undetermined amount of time,” he told Reuters.
The shares of Real and Napster fell in after hours trading on iNet. Real’s stock fell nearly 11 percent or about 80 cents to $6.50 after closing at $7.30 on Nasdaq. Napster stock plunged to $4.42 this morning, down almost 30% after 10 minutes of trading. Ironically, my Yahoo Messenger stock alert system let me know of this news… too bad it did not recommend a song to download too!