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Yahoo rolls out online music service

Subscription model costs less than half of competitors |

SAN FRANCISCO May 11, 2005 - Yahoo Inc.'s plans to enter the online music-subscription market with a new service that costs less than half of what some rivals are charging was enough to send the shares of other major music providers plunging Wednesday.

Yahoo (YHOO) said the beta version of its Music Unlimited service would cost $6.99 a month, or $59.98 for a full-year subscription, and allow users unlimited downloads from a library of more than 1 million songs. Users will then be able to play songs on their computers or on portable MP3 music players that use the Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Media format.

The Yahoo move underscores the attention that online media companies are paying to the portable music market. In recent months, Napster Inc. (NAPS) and RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK) have launched similar subscription services.

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