May 11, 2005, 12:00 AM

Yahoo launches a digital music service

Yahoo Music Unlimited entered the crowded digital music market today with cut-rate introductory prices, letting consumers subscribe to a monthly rental service or pay for individual song downloads. The move sent shares down at rivals Napster and Apple.

 

Yahoo Music Unlimited entered the crowded digital music market today with cut-rate introductory prices, letting consumers subscribe to a monthly rental service or pay for individual song downloads. Subscribers also get the LAUNCHcast Internet radio service.

Yahoo is offering Music Unlimited with a catalog of more than 1 million songs at an introductory price of $6.99 per month or $4.99 per month for an annual song-renting subscription. That compares to a monthly subscription of $14.95 charged by Napster.

Yahoo also lets customers download songs at 99 cents per track through the Yahoo Music Engine and burn the music to CDs and transfer songs to portable music players that operate with Microsoft Corp.’s digital music format. Subscribers to Yahoo Unlimited can download songs through the Music Engine for 79 cents per song, a rate that undercuts Walmart.com’s 88 cents.

Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes digital music service, which does not offer a subscription service, charges 99 cents per song download to its iPod music player. Yahoo’s service is not compatible with the iPod, the single most popular digital music player.

Yahoo’s stock rose 2.4% today to close at $34.88, while Napster’s stock fell to 26.8% $4.65 and Apple’s declined 2.4% to $35.88.

 

 

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