Yahoo Announcement Today

Stay tuned.  A statement is coming today.

For the fun of making a slightly educated guess, I’ll say that things won’t be shutting down, but all entertainment services (video, music, the omg! site, etc.) will all will be integrated into a single site. 

I’ll go for broke and guess that they won’t charge for memberships and will instead rely on ad revenue, a la Spiral Frog and Slacker.  Because of this new integration, we’ll all be asking for a firmware update that will allow us to stream music videos to our Connect players.

…and we’ll still kind of be wondering whether or not our players are going to continue to work with the new YMU.

I hope you’re right.  That would be soooo cool!

-ML

Whether or not Yahoo Music Unlimited closes soon, it’s now on my radar for a “Crap Could Hit The Fan” type issue. If it’s already rumored to be up on the chopping block as a music service, but somehow manages a repreive, there is no telling how long that reprieve is going to last.

I thought rumors of Sony CONNECT’s demise were just rumors. But, nope they were real. CONNECT was on the chopping block and PR just spun it around and basically lied, for all intense purposes. So, I couldn’t believe that as of right now Sandisk isn’t preparing a “Plan B” firmware for the Sansa Connect. It would be foolish for them not to be, or not to have known that Yahoo Music could be or would be actually closing, IF it does…

Why would they stop advertising the To-Go portion of the service? What is there to gain or loose? Unless they’re thinking about removing that capability from the service? Are they loosing too much money on long term on annual commitments for the To-Go portion?

Unless, YMU is going to re-launch as a DRM-free/DRM sale only music store, I can’t see anything else short of getting out of selling music downloads altogether, in Yahoo’s long term…

Now, Amazon entered the picture with DRM-Free… That just hurt YMU! that much more…

I want subscription services to exist, but until the almight Cr-Apple does it with D-iTunes, people won’t give it a second look. I’m sure most people are turned off by the subscription model, but that’s what these service have been advertising & pushing the most. Maybe if Rhapsody, Napster, URGE and YMU advertised track purchases more-so than the subscription models, they might get somewhere. First you get them in the door with purchases, then you get them to subscriptions. The other way around just hasn’t seemed to work, to their detriment.

Actually, IMHO, I think that Yahoo is coming to the realization that the Unlimited to go pricing model just doesn’t work.  It’s based on the assumption that a person will only download about 8 - 9 new songs per month to their MP3 Players (figured as $.79 per song and the price differential between monthly Unlimited and Unlimited to go subscriptions).  Most people, when they learn the potential for ‘all you can eat music’ download much more than that.  From a financial point of view the $6.00/month “sample all the music you want on your PC” and then get a $.20 discount for buying the music makes much more sense.  Unfortunately this will cause major problems with the Connect unless they can set up an option for an “Unlimited” account to be accessed on the unit and then you hit a “Click here to buy” function.  This will also required them to allow for a wider access to their on-line store through the Connect something which may not be possible.

Oh well, I’m just glad that I’d found this out before I bought a Connect for my son for his birthday, I’ll now consider a satellite radio/mp3 player (such as the Inno (we’re XM fans) or just get a something like a view or the E series unit. The only advantage I ever saw in the Connect was the ability to wireless transfer music and playlists and since that may be going away I’m going to stay clear of the device.  Without the wireless download capabilities the device offers no advantage over the other Sandisk players and I’m not going to pay the premium for a functionality which may become useless in the near future.

There’s some speculation that Yahoo’s big meeting may not end with any announcement at all.  Maybe they’ll just restructure things internally (defragment the way they present entertainment content.)  I think something pretty big is brewing over there, and I think we can be sure that Yahoo wants to be a major player in the entertainment media market.

I’m hopeful that YMU To Go is at least going to come back with a new price, and that the expense of providing the To Go feature will be offset by the consolidation/layoffs of the other Yahoo entertainment sites.  I think the To Go link has quietly been removed while they figure this out.  That Sansa Connect users can still sign up for the service… I think that means something…

But I’ve still got an eye out for that Plan B firmware!