Okay, it's actually called Yahoo! Music Engine (or YME for short), but a lot of us at the office prefer to call it yTunes. :-)

I've been using Yahoo! Launch (which is now Yahoo! Music) for a while now, mainly at my desk at work but also at home sometimes. It really makes me wonder why I still have 550 CDs sitting around at home.

And now, I can pay $5/month for basically unlimited music and buy tracks for $0.79. It's high time I dumped all those discs on a a used CD store.

See Also

I wonder if last week's rumors about Music Search threw everyone off the scent? :-)

Posted by jzawodn at May 11, 2005 09:57 AM

Reader Comments
# Matt said:

yTunes is basically just MusicMatch OnDemand rebranded. The reason to switch over to YME is the ability to load your songs onto a MP3 player.

on May 11, 2005 10:16 AM
# Cappo said:

Argg, the page says that its Windows only. Y! seems to have lots of services that don't play well with Firefox or Linux. I understand that Windows is like 90% of the desktop market, but isn't the whole point of "web services" to be platform-neutral?

on May 11, 2005 10:24 AM
# Marc said:

The player is also rather nice and has some interesting features like Messenger integration. Also, there are already a bunch of nifty plugins for the player at http://mep.music.yahoo.com/archives/dll_plugins/index.html

on May 11, 2005 10:25 AM
# Mitch Wright said:

Don't dump your CDs on a used CD store, list them on a service like barterbee.com where you can essentially convert them to DVD or games.

Well, until Yahoo comes out with Yahoo Video Engine and Yahoo Gaming Engine. :)

on May 11, 2005 10:25 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Which Linux-friendly DRM format would we use?

on May 11, 2005 10:31 AM
# dan isaacs said:

Why, The Honor System DRM format, of course.

on May 11, 2005 10:42 AM
# tim said:

Why can't I at least search the artist DB? I wanna see what's in there, but I can't. I'm supposed to take it on faith that Y's got decent tracks? A million isn't that many. There's so much effort spent in explaining what the product can do, that someone forget to mention what the product actually IS.

BTW, trying to load up a music video, I'm getting Browser Not Supported errors (using Firefox 1.03). That's just bad, especially when Netscape 4.7 is supported.

on May 11, 2005 10:48 AM
# seth said:

omg - talk about frustrating. not only is a subscription based music service the most retarded thing ever (I'll explain in a bit) but I went to Ian Rogers "blog" and tried to comment. You have to be a member of 360 to even comment (oh, and you have to be invited to be a member). WTF?

So now I am back here.

#1) with YME you only get the $4.99/month fee if you sign up for a full year. Otherwise it is $6.99.

#2) when (not if) you decide to use another service you lose all of your "subscription" music. You think WMA files are going to be the long standing format for music? if so, you are crazy. MP3s are here to stay, and if you are going with any proprietary file you should invest in AAC since Apple has %75 percent of the market. And if you think iPods are going away, you are crazy.

#3) I here you. You can pay $.79 (or $.99) and "own" a file from YME. Except, it is still in WMA format, AND you could do the same from iTunes WITHOUT the monthly fee.

anyway, I could go on forever about why this is stupid, but that wouldn't really help anybody would it. so, I'll give you some advice.

Use iTunes and jhymn (http://hymn-project.org/jhymndoc/) to get %100 DRM-free MP3s for $.99 each and no monthly subscription. That means you can put them on ANY player, share with friends, burn to CD as many times as you like, etc, etc.

on May 11, 2005 10:58 AM
# Derek said:

Why not to dump your CDs:

1.) You own the content if you keep it on CD. No DRM. If you want to sell it, you can. If you want to keep it, you can do that, too. The track you pay $.79 for online (to yTunes or iTunes both) you are stuck with forever.

2.) CDs are platform independent. They worked on Windows PCs, they work on Mac, they work on Linux, they work in your home stereo, they work in the quaint little radio that comes with your car. DRM-encoded music files, though, only work under certain conditions, with appropriate blessings from the DRM gods.

on May 11, 2005 11:02 AM
# stephen o'grady said:

"Which Linux-friendly DRM format would we use?"

why, Apple's FairPlay, of course ;)


on May 11, 2005 11:17 AM
# Justin Rudd said:

I have to agree with Derek. And add that CDs sound better then MP3 and WMA. I'll give it to you that on an iPod or your common car stereo, there isn't going to be a difference. But on my home stereo (for which I will not use a computer), there is a difference. Especially in Jazz and instrumental music.

on May 11, 2005 11:20 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


That's a damned good question. I'll see if I can find out.

BTW, you say 1 million isn't many. Last I heard, iTunes Music Store had 1.5 million. So on day #1, we're not too far behind Apple already.

on May 11, 2005 11:24 AM
# Anjan said:

Good argument Jeremy 8-| Quantity over quality? For all we know, Yahoo might have 175 million songs from Estonia. I'm sure their music is great but without knowing which artists and labels are being offered, one million doesn't mean anything.

Right now, all that Yahoo will steal are Napster's customers. Its not going to cut into over 90% of hd based players (iPod). And we all know how successful Napster's model has been. I think Yahoo had a chance if it went head on against Apple but a subscription model is retarded. Even if Apple turned over and offered a subscription model for those clamoring for non-ownership of music, Yahoo will croak because of the numbers that are in completely in Apple's favor.

on May 11, 2005 11:42 AM
# Ray said:

"BTW, you say 1 million isn't many. Last I heard, iTunes Music Store had 1.5 million. So on day #1, we're not too far behind Apple already."

Right, the problem with all of these services, and the reason I'm keeping my CD collection, is that they only carry the most popular music. I imagine they are great for people who musical taste is well covered, but what about those of us out on the long tail. With iTunes, I find about 30% of the music that I look for, with yTunes I would only find 20% assuming normal coverage, or 0% assuming the more likely case that what I like is in the 0.5M increment.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe yTunes has much better coverage of the music that I care about than iTunes. In that case, it really is a problem that I can't at least search the catalog before turning over my personal data.

on May 11, 2005 11:50 AM
# Justin Mason said:

It looks promising -- the model reminds me of EMusic, which was great for a while.

However, hiding the artist/track listings behind the subscription firewall is a bad idea; I toyed with signing up for the try-out, but there just wasn't enough info to let me know if I should bother or not.

BTW, you could say that I should just try it out and cancel if it's useless, but as anyone knows who's tried out the CDs-in-the-mail services advertised in magazines -- cancelling can be hard to do sometimes, if the vendor wants to make it hard. and there's no guarantees that Yahoo! would make it easy, despite the fact that Jeremy works there ;)

PS: it's probably all a moot point anyway -- it'd also depend on whether or not mplayer can transcode DRM'd WMAs into linux-compatible MP3s. I don't mind a bit of lossage if it means I can *listen* to the results...

on May 11, 2005 11:50 AM
# Patrick Grote said:

Jeremy ... without signing up I can't tell two things:

1) The streaming radio ... what rate does it come over and does it come through the desktop program or browser?

2) It says IE is required. Is that true or will it work with Firefox?

on May 11, 2005 11:53 AM
# Adam said:

DISCLAIMER: I do consulting for Virgin Digital.

Some random thoughts:
- What now happens to MusicMatch, the player, and also their services? Why did Yahoo! seemingly reinvent the wheel?

- How do you reconcile these two contradictory comments on the same Yahoo! page:

"Your Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription allows you to listen, transfer and share music with friends."

VS. (just a few paragraphs down)

"Note: Yahoo! Music does not permit copying or transferring music files to other users."


- People need to get their heads out of their arses and realize that they don't "own" music they buy with iTunes, so quit yer bitchin'. Sure, you can strip the DRM (illegally) from stuff you download from iTunes, just as you can losslessly record Napster / Y! streams.

- Subscriptions are, IMHO, pretty darn cool. I've been a Napster member for more than a year, and have enjoyed trials of Rhapsody, MusicMatch On Demand, and many other services. Why is it okay to pay a monthly phone bill or cable bill or wireless bill or gym bill, but not okay to pay a small fee each month to enjoy and discover and rediscover music? I *LIKE* being able to listen to a library of 1+ million songs at home and work without worrying about whether my portable is charged or filled with the songs I want, etc.

Bottom line: I plan to try Y!'s new music service, and others should at least TRY a subscription service before whining about how they suck.

on May 11, 2005 11:59 AM
# Willie Abrams said:

So, where is the Mac version?

on May 11, 2005 01:07 PM
# Jon Lech Johansen said:


If you'd like to use MD5 and AES (a.k.a. FairPlay when combined to deny Fair Use), I'd be more than happy to license both to you for a one-time fee of $1 USD ;-)

on May 11, 2005 01:42 PM
# James Day said:

What will the price be in 5 years? Expect the marks to ignore the obvious consequences of supporting things like this?

How does anything I "buy" work for me 20 years, 30 computers and 5 operating systems from now? Or am I being asked to buy self-destructing works?

Personally, if I used it at all, I'd "buy", throw away and download the better quality and durable mp3 version from a music trading service, having done my bit to reward the creator.

on May 11, 2005 02:19 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Willie, I think the Mac version is called iTunes. :-)

on May 11, 2005 03:28 PM
# Justin Mason said:

'Bottom line: I plan to try Y!'s new music service, and others should at least TRY a subscription service before whining about how they suck.'

on May 11, 2005 04:51 PM
# Justin Mason said:

'Bottom line: I plan to try Y!'s new music service, and others should at least TRY a subscription service before whining about how they suck.'

Well, agreed. I was an EMusic subscriber for quite a while, and EMusic in those days delivered high-quality, DRM-free mp3s, playable on everything and with support for downloading and playing on my linux box, in my preferred music player, from a wide range of indie labels, with a great range of music *for the price*.

So far all the subscription services have been pretty cruddy by comparison with EMusic. In fact, EMusic hasn't really kept their collection up to date either. So now I'm not a subscriber to *any* of these services, having been spoiled early on ;)

here's hoping y!'s offering is different...

on May 11, 2005 04:55 PM
# pb said:

At $60/year, you really don't have to worry about the limitations. That's less than the cost of most concerts or 4 CDs. Just pretend that what you get is 12 months of unlimited listens to 1 million tracks on your PC and some players. It becomes *complementary* to iTunes, CDs and P2P, not a replacemnt.

Virgin Guy, what's wrong with reinventing the wheel if you ahve the resources and can make it a lot better? Why trot out garbage just to avoid reinventing the wheel? With respect to sharing, I presume it refers to streams making the statements consistent. It makes sense that peoepl feel iTunes gives more ownership than subscription considering you can at least burn your whole collection. I agree with your final statement, though. Subscription is definitely attractive and need not replace other forms of music purchasing and listening.

I am a bit concerned, though, about what the eventual pricing is going to be. Right now the price is by far the most attractive feature of the service so if Yahoo plans to eventually raise it substantially, it'd be nice if it came clean sooner than later.

on May 11, 2005 08:38 PM
# Serdar Kilic said:

You can't call it yTunes until you support the Mac ;)

on May 11, 2005 09:03 PM
# Dave said:

Seth: iTunes doesn't do MP3 either, so by your argument about the only site you should use is allofmp3.com. And they support the Mac, Linux, and pretty much any other OS you'd care to use in this day and age.

FWIW, I like to call YME "Yummy!". I think that has a better ring to it than yTunes (and doesn't pay homage to arrogant designers that don't need the mindshare).

on May 12, 2005 10:44 AM
# seth said:

@Dave - my argument was to use iTunes and strip the DRM (with an already existing and very easy to use program - http://hymn-project.org/jhymndoc/). You end up with clean mp3s.

on May 12, 2005 07:08 PM
# Matt said:

DRM is here to stay folks. It's a fact of life. For those of you thinking that you're completely justified downloading from iTunes and using jhymn to strip the DRM from the track, why not just download it from bittorrent or whatever? Pay for it on iTunes, and download an mp3 version with Bittorrent. It's exactly what you're doing, and it's no more legal just because you paid your .99 cents (not to mention you can't prove you actually paid the .99 for the file once the DRM is gone...you've effectively destroyed your ownership of the file that you seem so eager to keep). Music servies can't offer clean mp3 files and still expect the music labels to provide access to the music, so stop bitching about how that's the only way to go. It'd be nice, but it's just not gonna happen. I'm actually pretty damn impressed with Y!'s new music venture. The price alone is worth it, and you wouldn't catch me going anywhere near Napster previously (I love owning my music...having no physical copy of something I've paid for has always made me nervous :-D). But for $5 bucks a month, I sort of think about it as "renting a million music tracks for a year". Wow. I don't really care if Y! spikes the price a year or two from now...I'll drop the service if it gets too expensive (sorry, Y!) and I still got my moneys worth - a full year of the cheapest music discovery I've ever had. And that's what I see as subscription services' strongest point - that they can give their services a lot cheaper, and it still allows you to discover new music you've never heard before. And Y! seems to be going in the right direction, giving us a price that lets even people (like me) who were previously terrified to death of DRM and subscription services to try it out and let go of some of their fears (or at least validate them if that's what it comes down to), and giving us some seriously hardcore tools to customize our music community how we want. C'mon folks...this isn't a bad thing.

on May 13, 2005 06:18 AM
# Dave said:

Seth, even if you strip the DRM from Apple music files its still encoded as AAC (.m4a), *not* MP3. Sure you can convert to MP3, but you can convert an unprotected WMA file to MP3 too, and conversion always adds some noise.

on May 13, 2005 10:27 AM
# Jarrett said:

heh, I've started calling it "yummy" rather than yTunes.

on May 23, 2005 04:08 AM
# sb said:

ytunes is useless to me at this point. at least with itunes i can convert the file to mp3 to listen to on my ancient 20gb archos that only plays mp3's. the archos still works great, so i'm not dropping another $200 - 300 bucks on another mp3 player. so much for ytunes. i guess i'd better cancel my subscription. at least there's still cd's.

on June 11, 2005 11:29 PM
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