John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Rhapsody in YHOO

Yahoo took some time off from fretting over its uncertain future today to ditch its also-ran subscription music service.

This morning the company said it’s exiting the subscription-music market and throwing its support behind Rhapsody America, a joint venture company owned by RealNetworks and Viacom. In the coming months, Yahoo Music Unlimited subscribers will be transitioned over to Rhapsody and Yahoo will begin promoting the new service on its properties.

The deal leaves us with a subscription services market of three: Rhapsody, Napster and Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace. And among those, Rhapsody–with just under 1 million subscribers–will be the leader. “This takes away a competitor, and gives Rhapsody potentially some marketing muscle,” Jupiter analyst David Card told USA Today. “This is good for Rhapsody.”

Indeed. But only if the deal lasts. And there’s good reason to believe it won’t, given Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo. The software giant and Real aren’t exactly old friends.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work