Mossberg: Yahoo Music Service Has Promise

After Tuesdayis launch of the Yahoo Music Unlimited service, The Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg writes itis "the new champ among subscription services," but "whether it can dislodge Apple is another matter."

Mr. Mossberg concludes the Yahoo service is "the way to go" and is "simple and easy to use."

"The software itself is straightforward," he wrote. "Unlike many other iTunes competitors, the Yahoo program doesnit require you to switch to a different screen to see the progress of song downloads. As in iTunes, a progress bar is visible no matter whatis going on in the main window."

Mr. Mossberg praised its "nice touches" saying the ability to personalize the service was a positive, but criticized the monthly US$15 rental fee as "pretty stiff."

The Yahoo Music Unlimited service will cost $6.99 a month, or $59.88 for a full-year subscription, and allow users unlimited downloads from a library of more than 1 million songs. Users will then be able to play songs on their computers or on digital media devices that use Microsoftis Windows Media format. As a result, the service will not be compatible with Apple line of iPod devices.

His conclusion: "If you have a spare $60 this year, you want to try renting music, and you donit have an iPod, Yahoo is the way to go. If you love your iPod and want to collect music whose longevity doesnit depend on paying a subscription fee years into the future, stick with Apple."

[Ed. note: Readers can access this column for free for one week via the WSJs public Personal Technology column.