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Yahoo doubles price for online music subscriptions

By wire services
Published October 31, 2005


Yahoo Inc. is doubling the price of its online music subscription service for portable MP3 players, ending a short-lived promotion that sought to lure consumers away from Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iTunes store.

Effective Tuesday, Yahoo will charge about $120 annually for access via download to more than 1-million songs that can then be transferred to portable players. The Internet powerhouse has been charging just less than $60 annually, a price most industry observers predicted wouldn't last when Yahoo entered the market in May.

Subscribing to the service monthly will cost $11.99, up from $6.99 under the initial pricing plan. That's closer to, but still less than, services from Napster Inc. and RealNetworks Inc., each of which charges just less than $15 per month.

With its service, Yahoo of Sunnyvale, Calif., joined Napster and RealNetworks in trying to sell the concept of renting an unlimited number of tunes for a set fee instead of buying copies individually.

The rental approach is supposed to encourage customers to sample different genres and discover new artists. But if the subscription expires, the previously downloaded songs become unplayable. Customers at Apple's iTunes store, by contrast, keep the songs they buy.

File-sharing service will charge fee for some songs

Popular peer-to-peer, file-sharing service iMesh (www.imesh.com) has introduced new software that allows users to legally share and buy music online.

The service offers access to 17-million music files. About 15-million will be available for free because copyright holders have not asked iMesh to block them.

An additional 2-million protected releases will be sold for 99 cents per song or a $6.95 monthly fee. The company will pay record labels a portion of the revenue for each song downloaded or shared.

"This takes the peer-to-peer experience, turns it on its ear and it becomes a pay service," said Bob Summer, executive chairman of iMesh.

The move comes after New York-based iMesh paid $4.1-million to the recording industry in July 2004 to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit. The company also agreed to block users from trading unauthorized copies of songs.

ID theft fears curtail Internet surfing, online buying

As identity theft has grown, so has fear of being victimized through high-tech means.

Nearly a third of Internet users are cutting back on time spent surfing the Internet, and a quarter say they have stopped buying online altogether, according to a study from Consumer Reports WebWatch.

Some 80 percent of Internet users say they are at least somewhat concerned someone could steal their identity from personal information on the Internet. Fifty-three percent of Internet users say they've stopped giving out personal information on the Web.

Among those who shop online, 54 percent say they are now more likely to read a site's privacy policy or user agreement before buying, and 29 percent have cut back on how often they buy online.

Broadcast TV networks not threatened by video iPod

In the wake of Apple Computer Inc.'s unveiling of its new video iPod, the presidents of the six broadcast networks said they welcome such new technology and do not perceive it as a threat to their business.

"It is a 2.5-inch screen, and while it's an amazing device, it's not something you're going to sit around with the whole family and watch," said ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, whose network's shows including Desperate Housewives and Lost are the first to be offered as part the video iPod's pay-per-download feature.

The executives, speaking last week at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society's Newsmakers Luncheon, acknowledged that new forms of technology are rapidly changing the entertainment industry, but said creative content providers have to focus on good products and let the various new distribution channels slug it out for themselves.

Cingular service gives mobile access to e-mail accounts

Cingular Wireless is introducing a service for nonbusiness users to get BlackBerry-like mobile access to their personal e-mail accounts from AOL, Yahoo and MSN Hotmail on a cell phone.

The new service, powered by OZ Communications Inc., is designed to adapt the look and capabilities of a Web portal or e-mail program such as Outlook to the limited screen size, keyboard and processing power of a garden-variety handset.

The Java-based e-mail application initially will be available to download on existing phones with five models from Motorola Inc. and one from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. It also is being preinstalled on new phones, though not immediately through all Cingular sales channels.

There's no monthly charge for Cingular Mobile Email, but users will need to subscribe to one of the company's wireless Internet plans with a monthly allotment of data usage. Jim Ryan, a Cingular vice president, said a $5 monthly data plan should provide sufficient capacity to check one's e-mail a few times daily.

Tidbits

The Photoshop Guys, also known as Scott Kelby, Dave Cross and Matt Kloskowski of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals in Oldsmar, have posted the first episode of Adobe Photoshop TV (www.photoshopguys.com) The show can be viewed online or downloaded as a video podcast. It includes tips, tutorials and Photoshop news ... Gulf Beaches Public Library now has high-speed wireless Internet access for notebook users. Access is free at the library, 200 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach, but visitors need a library card ... Pac-Man will move beyond making "wocka wocka" sounds to talking in November in Pac-Man World 3 from Blitz Games. The voice belongs to actor Martin Sherman, and the occasion is Pac-Man's 25th anniversary.

Join discussion at Tech Times blog

Join Times personal technology editor Dave Gussow throughout the week for news, links and comments about tech issues at the Tech Times blog (www.sptimes.com/blogs/tech) We invite you to post your comments and questions.

[Last modified October 31, 2005, 03:00:27]


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