11 May 2005

YAMSS: Yet Another Music Subscription Service

Just what the world needs. Another way to "rent" music. Don't get me wrong, I love Yahoo. They are one of the best online service providers ever to exist, in my decidedly arrogant opinion. They have slick and useful services, great integration, a reliable interface, and excellent economic value. I just hate that they are forced to sink to such grimy depths as renting music. On the other hand, being able to download music for purchase is something I have been waiting for. If you've been around me at all you know how keen I am in the ability to download legit music. The Windows Media Player 10 is an exceptional product with great features, remarkable ease of use, and an excellent integration story. Having said all that, Yahoo's Launch service kicks MSN Music's booty and has done for quite some time. Yahoo did an excellent job with online playlists, ratings tracking, and IM integration. Their library is very comprehensive and their stations are much better programmed. The ability to ban songs, keep ratings in your online profile, and subscribe to the playlists of others is phenomenally huge value. For the longest time, their online buying experience has been the only drawback. MSN has the integration between their catalog, Media Player, and the buying experience down cold. Unfortunately the catalog needs work, the stations blow, you can't ban songs, and your ratings don't seem to affect anything at all. Not having a community around the ratings and stations means your ability to get exposed to new music is greatly reduced. Of course this also comes back to MSN having a very limited online catalog. I guess we just have to see if Yahoo's new service is up to snuff. MSN is way ahead by providing access to all these other online stores from the same Media Player interface. The fantastic upside in all this is that it is not an ISuck...er...IPod based solution. Not being able to move files around to other devices, for example my phone or my XBox, is a huge stumbling block to my personal adoption of the IBlow...I mean IPod. Not to start a religious war or anything so I won't further bad-mouth such a closed solution. Besides the sheep will never believe they are sheep.

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