Yahoo has just refreshed its Music Pages service with bunch of new band-configurable widgets that sort of turn it into the MySpace of the Music Industry: an interesting move, considering how many bands use MySpace for self-promotion already.
Yahoo Music is already one of the most popular online music services, but clearly the company is trying to develop its market share, which will of course drive up advertising revenue, and has thus opted for the radical redesign.
The new design has “Artist Pages” which the company is dubbing a “revolutionary free customer experience,” and each page is customizable to include panels/modules that link to sites like iTunes, Amazon, Last.fm, YouTube and so on. The main point of the reworked Yahoo Music is to aggregate lots of different information together in one place, like music downloads, concert dates, ticket buying, videos, editorial writing and so on. In effect it sounds like the freely-adjustable pages used by MySpace, but with a little more stylistic control enforced by Yahoo. It’ll offer info on 500,000 bands, twice as much as the previous incarnation of the service did, and the intention is for Yahoo Music to become the starting point for finding out about a band that’s new to you. Apparently it’s also been suggested that in the future Yahoo users will be able create and self-publish Music Pages–potentially allowing fan-based content to be located in the same place as “official” promotional material, and perhaps acting as a promotional vehicle for indie bands.
Yahoo pulled out of direct-download music sales itself about a year ago, and the new “portal” Yahoo Music sounds much more in keeping with Yahoo’s mission to become a central conduit through with other content providers can reach their target audience even though it’s not been stewarded by new CEO Carol Bartz. It’s basically leaving the “risky” side of the business (exemplified with the current tussle over online track pricing) to other people, and concentrating on re-packaging their content for specific uses. Yahoo’s also apparently negotiated a deal with content providers like iTunes, and will collect a fee for every referral–and it will of course continue to earn revenue from onsite advertising.