Yahoo Launches local music station

Yahoo Australia hopes to pull users from the US Yahoo music channel to its own newly released local site.

The music site called Launch, which has been online in the US for over five years, streams radio and video over a variety of genres and styles: rock, pop, 80s, country, hip-hop, dance and more. It also enables users to access exclusive artist interviews and features, music news, photos, charts with audio samples and downloadable ring tones.

The Australian site looks exactly like the US site, except for the obvious prevalence of Australian artist names. Each month the site will profile a different local act. The profile includes photos, bios, audio and video clips, news, interviews and gossip.

According to a June 2004 Nielsen Net Ratings study, the US Launch site currently attracts more than 250,000 Australian visitors every month. Head of Yahoo entertainment, Brian Boys, hopes to pull these users to the Australian site.

“Having an Australian site will support the Australian music industry immensely,” he said.

And, of course, the more visitors to the site, the more attractive it will be to advertisers -- the site's only source of revenue.

Boys said the music site was designed as an ideal marketing vehicle and that a number of major record labels in Australia and some smaller ones had all embraced the site as a vehicle for promoting local music.

“18 to 35-year-olds are the prime target advertising market, and online is increasingly becoming the way to reach them,” he said.

“With a site like ours we have economies of scale that allow us to offer services such as Launch free to consumers.”

At the moment Launch Australia offers over 20 different stations and over 2000 on-demand music videos, but this is quite likely to grow. Programmers will be continually changing the play lists.

“We are able to see what is being listened to and what is being skipped, so we will be able to tailor the content to meet consumer needs,” said Boys.

Radio can be delivered at any bandwidth and video is served at 56Kbs, 128Kbs and 300Kbs. You will need at least 96MB RAM, and an operating system above Windows 95 to run the service.

“Obviously those with broadband will have a better experience with Launch,” Boys said, but denied that the relatively slow uptake of broadband in Australia would affect the number of visitors to the local Launch site.

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