Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yahoo Music Unlimited

I signed up for the Yahoo Unlimited music service a few weeks ago and so far I have been pretty happy with it. They offer unlimited streaming and downloading of 192 kbs .wma files which can be transferred to a compatible mp3 player and stay playable as long as you keep up with the $6.99 per month subscription fee. They music sounds fine on my Zen Micro mp3 player but isn't available to iPod users because that particular cultural icon doesn't support .wma files.

While the service is geared toward the pop end of the market in terms of music selection, the mainstream jazz selections are quite good, with albums from their supported labels appearing on their release day. As I write this, I'm listening to the new release of John Coltrane at the Half Note which was released yesterday. The service is also quite valuable in terms of checking out music you're not sure to like. A good example of this is the new Wynton Marsalis album Live at the House of Tribes. I have found much of Marsalis' recent music to be lifeless and bland, but was intrigued by this release which has been favorably compared to one of his last great albums, Live at Blues Alley. So it was nice to be able to stream the album and really check it out before looking for it on CD.

In the end, if you like a lot of different types of music, have an mp3 player that is supported and aren't attached to having the physical artifact of a CD, Yahoo Music is a good choice for digital music, offering a lot of music for the least cost of all the streaming music services.

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