Back in May of 2005, Yahoo launched Yahoo! Music Unlimited, an on-demand online music service where users could pay a subscription fee to stream or download unlimited amounts of music for either $8.99 or $5.99 per month. While the unlimited services were a hit back then, they’ve slowly lost popularity as the ad-supported free music has become the way to go. Yahoo recently made it clear that they were no longer focusing on their unlimited subscribers yet there was no word on how they were going to handle the situation. A recent partnership with RealNetwork’s Rhapsody music service is now the solution to their problem of what to do with all of those subscribers.
Rhapsody music service will now be where Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscribers will go to get their music on-demand. The switch will occur sometime in the first half of this year and Yahoo’s customers will be paying the same fee as they always had, but only for a limited time. At some point if they want to continue their subscription service, they’ll have to decide upon a Rhapsody plan which start at $12.99 per month. Yahoo says this move will allow them to focus their efforts on the free ad-supported music market and other types of media which are currently popular.
Even though Yahoo Music Unlimited users have a place to go, my gut feeling is that those users are eventually going to start wondering why they are paying for a service when they could get an ad-supported music service for free. Given the changes in how people listen to music, my gut says Rhapsody music service won’t be around for long.
Also in the news and pertaining to Yahoo Music is the announcement that they have acquired FoxyTunes. We know many of you are very familiar with FoxyTunes and use it regularly as your media toolbar, and/or a way to share music. Yahoo says that while this may be “a major strategy shift,” they are still investing in the music business.