A quick note from the continuing Yahoo drama: today the company agreed to sell off Launchcast, its streaming music service, to CBS. (Disclosure: CBS is the publisher of News.com.) This continues Yahoo's movement out of the music biz--it sold its subscription service to RealNetworks .
More interesting than Yahoo's exit is the buyer. Launchcast now sits alongside Last.fm and AOL Radio (which is best-loved ) in CBS's online radio arsenal. According to this report in All Things Digital, Launchcast will become more like AOL Radio, focusing primarily on pre-programmed playlists and Webcasts of terrestrial radio stations, while Last.fm will remain the company's flagship property for user-generated playlists.
It's interesting that CBS still sees a lot of opportunity in preprogrammed (top-down) online radio. By way of comparison, look at News Corp's recent launch of MySpace Music, which is focused on the idea that users will hunt down their favorite artists and songs and then assemble playlists (bottom up). CBS's approach makes sense--you might as well appeal to all segments of the listening audience, and some Internet users simply don't have the time to bother with custom playlists, or even with recommendation-driven services like Last.fm and Pandora.