February 7, 2006 5:10 PM PST

Yahoo updates its iTunes rival

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Yahoo released a new version of its new music jukebox on Tuesday, adding a handful of features aimed at making the software easier to use on networks and with MP3 players.

The company's Music Engine software is designed to be a rival to Apple Computer's iTunes, and serves as the home for Yahoo's monthly music subscription service. The company has not said how many subscribers it has attracted since launching it in May.

The new version of the software makes it easier to swap playlists and browse the music collections of other people who are using Yahoo's instant messenger software. Among other additions, it also fixes bugs that had marred the first release, particularly in transferring songs to portable devices.

"This release falls into the 'you asked, we answered' category," Yahoo Music team head Ian Rogers wrote in a blog post announcing the release. "Yahoo Music Engine still isn't perfect, but it's certainly headed the right direction."

Rogers said that one of the most serious problems with the earlier release was a bug in Microsoft software that occasionally prevented any music from being transferred to MP3 players that were supposed to be compatible with the service. Microsoft has provided a fix for the issue, he said.

The new version of the software also has features such as support for devices that stream music around a home network, as well as makes CD burning easier.

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33 comments

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One Word, Irrelevant
Apple already has the formula perfected with their ultra cool
combination of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. Apple offers
Cool hardware, a cool store with cool features, great prices, and a
fantastic selection. Why would I even think of switching from
musical nirvana to something else? I'm not even interested in
looking elswhere. What was this article about again? YaWHO?
Posted by bsn (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Two other words, Apples and Oranges...
While you are correct that the Itunes/Ipod combo is close to unbeatable at what they do, Yahoo is in another segment of the market. They sell flat rate subscriptions to their entire music library, something that Apple does not offer.
Posted by joecm (7 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft will RULE in music!!!
Yeah, I mean they own 99% of all computers in the world, they
must be doing something right. Their software ROCKS!!! Apple
only markets well, their stuff is just toys.

<punching myself while laughing wildly> That just cracks me up
every time!
Posted by (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I find it very funny
In the OS space, where Apple has 3-4%, the fan-boys say market share is not important. When it comes to the iPod, the very same folks say with 70% market share( or about 15-20% less then MS has in the OS market) that everyone should go home; Apple has it won...

Make up your minds.
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I agree. One thing that Microsoft excels at is copying, or as MS prefers to call it innovating. No one innovates better than Microsoft.
Posted by bsn (34 comments )
Link Flag
It beats iTunes hands down!
Taken from Torres Talking:

Yahoo! Music Engine & me

If you think the best music player available is iTunes... you're just wrong. Sorry.

Windows Media Player 10 is great for power users (ahem, like me) and iTunes is ideal for noobs who like to throw good money away on low-quality music locked to a single application and a single portable device. But the freshly updated Yahoo! Music Engine beats them both hands-down. No comparison. Pack up and go home... Thanks for playing. (Caveat: I may change my mind about this when Windows Media Player 11 comes out.)

Why YME? There's nothing this little engine can't do. The subscription service is incredibly inexpensive and lets you play unlimited music for just $4.99/month. Beat that. No one has been able to since they launched last May (I was singing its praises back then too). The portable device support (Plays for Sure!) is extensive and all you have to do is drag and drop cover art to transfer music to the device. It supports "living room streaming" to compatible devices like the Roku Soundbridge and you never even have to download the music to make this work; it's all "over the air". (Note that I haven't tested with Xbox 360 yet - that would be the clincher). It supports music sharing through Yahoo Messenger (which no one I know uses, but it's still cool). It supports podcasting through the also-great Yahoo Podcasts service. LaunchCast radio is fantastic. The personalized recommendations are getting better (how did it know I used to love Bobby Brown: Roni?!) It supports skins and plug-ins like every good media player should. It auto-detects networked music to let you stream between PCs in your home/office like iTunes does.

And one of the best things: it actually keeps your subscription/streaming library in sync between multiple computers. I didn't realize this until I installed it at home and the albums I was streaming from work automatically appeared in My Music. WHOA. I don't know exactly how this worked, but whatever it did I was impressed with.

In light of Google's "huge" announcement yesterday, I find it almost laughable that someone from Yahoo! isn't on the cover of Rolling Stone, Wired, and Time Magazine holding up a laptop with this program running. Google makes every mainstream media outlet bow down for adding a chat window to an online email service and Yahoo continues to up the ante in digital media and News.com has a tiny blurb... and it doesn't even rank on Memeorandum. Well... at least we're not alone in this ;)

To the Yahoo Music team from an MSN guy: great job. You nailed it.
Posted by wideawakewesley (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
LMAO
As Fergie says, in one of her songs, "BullSh-t"

Your post could not have been funnier, nor more un-true. In fact, since the entire post is based on false premises, it's hilarious.

Must be a joke. If not, I hope you're not a developer, you must truly suck.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
It's just a subscription service....
... So if that's what turns your crank, it's got to be better than Real.
So go for it.

And if WMP meets your needs, well, someone has to use it.

And at least Yahoo nailed you. I'll pass.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
yahoo vs. itunes
it's not really a yahoo vs. itunes issue. both stores have their pros and cons.

iTunes store is the only store carrying major label songs that is both fully compliant for users regardless if they are on a Mac or PC or both.

No other major store is Mac compliant. We talk about a locked in music format. Windows music file with DRM only plays on windows machines, they've just announced they will no longer provide their media player for mac, even when the mac's percentage is rising.

All stores and players competing and using windows drm laden files are really competing amongst themselves, once a dominant player rises then they will be competing directly with Apple/iTunes.

People talk about choice but really if all the stores are offering the same thing at the same prices, the focus should be who does the best job at providing the files to the end user the easiest, least difficult. So many players have come on the market labeled to be the iPod killer and while some get rave reviews and or get some sales none have made a dent. While the yahoo store might be better than iTunes, the iPod plays in perfect harmony with iTunes. Many windows players even a few with the "play for sure" label i've read have had problems with select services.

I personally want a simple player one that plays my music and does that perfectly. I do not want an FM tuner, it would be different if all the radio stations didn't play the same exact playlist hour after hour.

I've tried other players in the past, but none have i found to equal the ipod/itunes package.

Apple was not the first to use USB connections, built-in bluetooth, to selling an MP3 device, to offer a legal download service, to offer podcasting, to offer video. But with each of these until Apple fully embraced, supported, and offered customers an easy way to retrieve and use these devices and files, they were just blips on the map.

I do not want to rent my music, if i am spending money i want to own my music! I have collected over time 200+ cds that's my music i ripped my music and placed it on my mp3 player, i've bought about 50 songs through iTunes, i am not an audiophile phanatic, i do not own 200.00 headphones. 128 kbps in AAC might not be amazing sound but its good enough. I rip my cds between 224-256 on vbr in but in the generic mp3 format.
Posted by (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
double true
I agree. I think it boils down to how you prefer to purchase music. I personally don't like the rental model. I like to know that music I buy today will still be mine in 10 or 20 years without having to pay a monthly fee. Also, for me, iTunes is great for organizing my music. I ripped all 1200 of my cd's and never looked back.

So if you just want access to a lot of mainstream music and don't already own a lot of music and only use Windows then the rental model is probably very appealing.

Who knows, 10 years from now bandwidth may be so accessible that you'll be able to stream every song ever made any time you want. But until then...
Posted by markusfarkus (96 comments )
Link Flag
Own Vs. Rent
Have you ever "rented" a movie?
Have you ever "rented" a car?
Have you ever "rented" a beach house?
Have you ever "rented" a carpet cleaner?
Have you ever "rented" an apartment?
Have you ever...

The list goes on forever. But Gravity forbid someone say that music subscription services (renting music) sounds like a keen idea. That's what's truly hilarious. We rent things that we only want to keep for a while or to preview something that we may in fact "own" later by purchasing. iTunes will (might) eventually get with the program and offer subscriptions. In the mean-while Yahoo and others like them will continue grabbing more and more and MORE customers. Tick, tick, tick, you time is winding down Apple! There are better options today!

-----------------------------------------
Zen Vision:M rules! Check the specs...
-----------------------------------------

Thanks for reading guys :-)
Posted by locoHost (25 comments )
Link Flag
Built-in Bluetooth????
What iPod has built-in bluetooth. I've been waiting on this for years. Please let me know on which iPod this is offered. I'd be all over that!
Posted by drewbyh (91 comments )
Link Flag
Still yahoo isn't close
What's better 3 million songs .99 cents each or "about" 1 million songs .99 cents each. Face it until yahoo gets more music and some video content they still aren't a match for itunes.
Posted by Glorybox3737 (88 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's better.....
Here's why about a million songs at .79 per song is better than 3 million at .99. I can have as many of those 1,000,000 songs on my PC as I want as long as I have the space. How many of those .99 iTunes songs can you afford to buy to put on your PC? Its all about choice. I like to sample via a sub and buy when I really like something. You get to listen via a sample and then have to decide if you like it enough to pay the money. I always think back to when I first bought Derek and the Dominos inthe 70's. I bought it for Layla but years later my favorite songs I play off that album are other cuts not Layla....the point being....sometimes its nice to have the option to live with music awhile before deciding to shell out the bucks and making the wrong purchase.
Posted by JohnnyL (89 comments )
Link Flag
I am pasting one single line , just read it
What happens when you try to view anything on
launch.yahoo.com with OS X/Mac?

Pasting.

"ERROR
We're sorry, but you must use Netscape 4.7x to use this
application on a Macintosh. Download NOW."

This is rival for you! :)
Posted by Ilgaz (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Strange...
... Yahoo.com launches fine on my OS X Mac. Just didn't see
anything worth staying for. I think that Google does it better.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Update is admission of problems
Job One should have been having the Yahoo service work with
the music players supposedly compatible with it from day one.
Yet, it doubtful that even this update will get that done. Just
think about that. Compatibility between music store and music
player is exactly what Apple got right from the start. Is it any
wonder that Yahoo and other would-be giant killers are still
playing catch up? (Not that they ever will.)

I agree with the very spirited Joy that previewing music is the
intelligent approach to buying it in today's market. In fact, I
suspect that is the remaining value of peer-to-peer, as well as
subscription services.

I sense a kind of "I know I'm wrong, but will pretend I don't' vibe
coming from people who only subscribe to music stores. They
are going to regret not buying the music they really liked down
the road. So, they go overboard trying to justify a bad choice
now.

An unmentioned advantage of iTMS is the broad availability of
other content there -- music videos, podcasts, television shows,
and their educational content program. Since no competitor
has either as much music or these other offerings, the chances
of catching up are nil. (Yes, I am aware of "Zencasts." Had a
chuckle when I read the name.)
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yahoo is Awful
While I'm no fan of Apple, Yahoo is probably one of the worst at designing GUI applications. Their web site is a mess, their music application GUI is a mess, and their music offering uses Windows DRM, which is also a mess. So I can only concur that those who are here claiming that Yahoo is superior in some fashion to iTunes have some sort of agenda.

I have to wonder if Cnet comments are getting hit by astroturf. It seems to me that there are too many posts on this board that haven't a scintilla of objectivity. Run a story about Apple, the MS and Apple astroturfers come out in droves. Same with politics.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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