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Yahoo to offer free music service?

Yahoo! is considering offering non-copy protected MP3s either paid for or as part of an ad-supported free service.

Yahoo already has Music Unlimited (opens in new tab) which costs USD 6 per month and allows the users to access over 2 million songs which they can play and save on any PC.

The search company also has Launchcast (opens in new tab) which is a streaming radio that allows Yahoo users to listen to playlists either for free or for a paid fee - USD 3 per month.

Two senior staff members from record companies involved in the talks say that Yahoo is hoping to launch that service in 2008.

Recording companies like Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp., and EMI Group PLC have hinted in the past weeks that they are ready to work with online e-tailers to sell their music without digital rights management.

Yahoo already proposes music videos and plan to have song lyrics at a later stage which might position it against the likes of Myspace Music (opens in new tab).

It remains to be seen whether Yahoo's plans to use adverts to pay for the music backfires if the world slips in an economic recession or if users will tolerate even a small amount of adverts.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.