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MTV, Yahoo unfurl music site

MTV and Yahoo roll out their online music guide, Unfurled, heating up competition in the online music market.

MTV Networks and Yahoo (YHOO) rolled out their online music guide today, dubbed Unfurled, heating up competition in the online music market.

As reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, the companies say Unfurled will be a one-stop guide to music on the Web. Music sites and their features will be reviewed by MTV editors and classified into categories. The guide will be regularly updated and also will display site reviews from users, as well as weekly columns, live event listings, breaking news, and polls.

The site originally was supposed to launch in January, but like many such ventures, it ran into delays. Still, it is a coup for Yahoo, which Monday announced an online chat deal with NBC. As television's pioneering music channel, MTV is a well-known brand.

Last week, Yahoo announced better-than-expected earnings, pushing its stock to 52-week highs. It closed yesterday at 50-1/2, up 2.

For MTV, the deal is another example of computer technology and entertainment convergence. The company wants to extend its presence on the Web and take a stand against increased competition.

A rotating ad banner running on MTV's site yesterday says that Unfurled will launch this week. The free site is expected to be supported by online ads.

Unfurled says it aims to be different because it's a guide to all the other sites, an estimated tens of thousands of them. But most are fighting for the same ad dollars and the field is getting crowded. Some examples include the following:

  • A new Web site called JamTV Music Network launched in March, aspiring to be "the most comprehensive Internet resource" for popular music entertainment and information." JamTV also is free and generates revenue from ads and the sale of branded merchandise. JamTV's founder is Jam Productions of Chicago, the Midwest's largest concern promoter.

  • Capitalizing on its brand popularity, Sony Online launched a site in March that includes an online music channel dubbed Siren. It spotlights music news, interview clips, and chat. Recording companies such as Geffen Records and the Internet Underground Music Archive already offer music clips and CD sales on the Net.

  • Last December, Rolling Stone and America Online teamed up to offer Rolling Stone Online, featuring music news, reviews, features, and live interviews. Not to be outdone, Microsoft Network launched an online serialization of former Rolling Stone writer Fred Goldman's book, The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and the Head-On Collision of Rock and Commerce.

    While music companies are turning to the Net to sell artists' images and CDs, technology companies are joining the stampede to show off the latest bells and whistles in their technologies. This week, Intel is hosting a music festival where bands are Webcasting their live performances.