One of the odder things over the past couple of years was watching how AOL, Yahoo and (to a lesser extent) Microsoft never really bothered to leverage their lead in instant messaging, to tie IM to additional services that were becoming more popular, such as online music or social networking. That's been changing slowly in the last year as everyone seems to be upgrading their instant messaging offerings and adding additional services to catch up with all the startups. Of course, that hasn't stopped the startups from rushing ahead. In the music space, companies like Grouper and Mercora have been working on ways to combine instant messaging and music sharing -- but it's a bit more difficult since they don't have the same userbase as the big guys, and it's tough, these days, to convince people that they need to have yet another instant messaging platform. However, it looks like Yahoo is getting into the space. Yahoo's messenger has already integrated in the company's Launchcast streaming radio service, but apparently they want to let people "share" music with each other -- though, obviously with all sorts of RIAA-approved restrictions. Since they have the userbase, it will be interesting to see if it catches on -- but you still have to wonder how much demand there really is for this. It's nice to get recommendations for music I might like occasionally from friends -- but most of the time I prefer to listen to the music I already have. Do people really want their friends to DJ for them all the time? Update: Reuters has more details on the offering outside of the the instant messaging part. Basically, it's a music subscription service, but much more competitively priced than existing subscription services, ranging from $5 to $7/month depending on how long you sign up for. That's about the price that many have predicted any subscription service would need to reach to be really viable to the masses -- so this could get interesting.
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