Yahoo Music stops selling and starts pointing

Company wants to direct users to music available on multiple Web sites, but with many of these sites already offering a full range of services, will anyone need Yahoo?

Screenshot of Yahoo Music's new music directory page. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

A music subscription and download service didn't work out for Yahoo, so the portal is now trying a much safer approach.

Yahoo is planning to be a sort of guide to the Web's top music services, executives said this week. Yahoo Music users will be able to set up Web pages where they can track content offered by sites such as iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, Last.fm, and Pandora.

The move is part of an overhaul of Yahoo's home page, designed to aggregate content from other sites. The move will make Yahoo much more like the directory it once was before former CEO Terry Semel and others tried to remake the company into a media company.

The new plan for Yahoo Music presents some obvious benefits. Yahoo will no longer compete in a sector packed with competitors. The Web portal also won't have to pay the considerable licensing fees charged by the four major labels. But the big question is will anybody need to make a stop at Yahoo to get their music?

First off, the vast majority of music fans spend their music dollars at iTunes. When it comes to the growing number of other music stores, many of those offer identical features. There is now a slew of places to download music (iTunes, Amazon, Wal-Mart), and to hear free streaming music (iMeem, iLike, and soon MySpace Music).

I think it was smart for Yahoo to drop its music-subscription service earlier this year. But it's hard for me to believe that consumers need anyone directing them to music. Even if they did, would anyone look to Yahoo for that?

Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET News.

 

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