Yahoo, Rhapsody Deliver Music Playback In Search Results - InformationWeek

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Yahoo, Rhapsody Deliver Music Playback In Search Results

Users will be limited to 25 songs every 30 days. If they exceed the limit, they will be able to hear only 30-second samples until the next 30-day cycle begins.

Yahoo on Thursday launched a music-playback feature that lets people searching for artists to listen to full songs directly from search results.

The capability is the result of a partnership with Rhapsody, a music subscription service from RealNetworks and MTV Networks. Rhapsody is providing the FoxyTunes Player that pops up at the bottom of a browser when a person selects a tune. Rhapsody is also supplying the music from the service's library of more than 5 million songs.

The playback feature is unique to the Yahoo portal. Other major search engines, such as Google and Microsoft, do not have a similar feature. Yahoo said the latest offering is part of its "play-the-Web" strategy of opening up its Yahoo Music portal to content and services from across the Internet. Yahoo in July notified customers that it was pulling the plug on its own music subscription service, which failed to gain much traction among Web users.

Through the Rhapsody partnership, people who search for an artist through Yahoo will get at the top of search results a picture of the performer and a link to his or her official Web site, as well as links to photos, music videos, lyrics, and other content available on the portal. There will also be a short list of songs that are available for playback. Clicking on a song title launches the FoxyTunes Player.

Users will be limited to 25 songs every 30 days. If they exceed the limit, they will be able to hear only 30-second samples until the next 30-day cycle begins. To get unlimited access, people will have to subscribe to the Rhapsody Unlimited service, which costs $13 a month.

Yahoo's failure in offering its own music subscription service is a reflection of the fierce competition for the ears of music lovers. Apple's iTunes music store, which sells more music than any other retailer online or offline, dominates the market. Rivals such as Amazon.com and Rhapsody are trying to differentiate their stores by selling music files free of copyright-protection technology, which means they can be played on portable music players from multiple vendors. Songs bought through iTunes can only be easily played on the Apple iPod or iPhone.

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