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A UMG/Sony/
Yahoo threesome would align the biggies of the music world with the three major contenders for online dominance.
—The author, speculating wildly
WILL LABELS GO YAHOO?
Report Of Talks On A Subscription Music Service Ups The Ante
Is top Net portal Yahoo in talks with one or more major labels about becoming a subscription music service?

Online news source The Standard says it is, though Yahoo declined to comment.

Such a consummation—which could involve UMG and Sony, who jointly threatened to launch such a service recently—would essentially round out a rapidly reconfiguring world of Web-music affiliations.

With shareholders about to vote on the Time Warner/AOL merger and the AOL-EMI marriage pending and BMG's affiliation with the newly coupled Terra Lycos, a UMG/Sony/Yahoo threesome would align the biggies of the music world with the three major contenders for online dominance.

The majors seemed uninterested in subscription models not long ago, instead pursuing a model predicated on "secure," individually vended downloads. But a sluggish consumer response to such a prospect—as underscored by recent Jupiter research—and the phenomena of free MP3-swapping applications like Napter and Gnutella have clearly caused the labels to hedge their bets.

A substantial portion of Napster users recently expressed willingness—a least to Webnoize pollsters--to pay a sub fee. This, combined with the potential shown by My.MP3.com and the labels' ability to prevail against such services in court, have clearly suggested that the time is ripe to offer more encompassing music destinations under their own auspices.

Yahoo, as one of the most popular search destinations on the Internet, is undoubtedly an attractive brand. The site currently offers downloads, reviews and other music-related content.

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