Unlimited Has Its Limits; Yahoo Taps Rhapsody on Subscription


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Yahoo Music is now outsourcing its subscription-based offerings to both RealNetworks and Viacom-owned MTV, according to information disclosed Sunday.

As part of the deal, subscription application Rhapsody – now a joint venture between RealNetworks and MTV – will become the exclusive provider of on-demand music services for Yahoo.  The move replaces Yahoo Music Unlimited, a service that experienced tepid uptake despite aggressive pricing.  Yahoo Music subscribers will migrate their accounts mid-year, according to the companies.

For RealNetworks and MTV, the move introduces Rhapsody to an immense audience, and a larger potential subscriber pool.  “Soon, tens of millions of Yahoo users will be able to access their favorite music through Rhapsody – wherever they go, whenever they want it,” said RealNetworks chairman and chief executive Rob Glaser.  Rhapsody will also handle various non-subscription transactions, including a-la-carte downloads.

The news comes alongside a music-related acquisition by Yahoo.  The mega-portal revealed that it has now purchased the privately-held FoxyTunes, a player plug-in that quickly finds lyrics, videos, bios, and other song- and artist-related information.  FoxyTunes offers compatibility with 30 desktop and web-based players.