Yahoo spins Launch music site

Not wanting to be left out of the band, Yahoo Inc. pulled music destination Launch out of its sleeve Monday, offering users streaming music, downloads, artist information and on-demand music videos.

Yahoo's new music offering is a product of its buy of Launch Media Inc. earlier this year. The company had been searching for a music channel to compete with the deluge of online music services now hitting the Net.

But although the powerhouse portal hopes to outpace music rivals such as MusicNet and Listen.com Inc.'s Rhapsody, both of which just recently launched, its download subscription service is still in the wings. Yahoo Music is an affiliate of the Vivendi Universal SA and Sony Music Entertainment Inc.-backed Pressplay subscription service, which so far has produced fury but no sound. The service said earlier this month that it would launch by the end of this year, but has yet to announce an official release date or pricing information.

But while download subscription service MusicNet, formed by AOL Time Warner Inc., Bertelsmann AG, EMI Group PLC and RealNetworks Inc., and streaming music service Rhapsody are busy spinning tunes, the nascent Pressplay will offer Yahoo one distinct benefit, and that's the ability for users to burn CDs.

Until Pressplay is unveiled, Launch users can content themselves with Internet radio stations that can be customized to fit their tastes, artists interviews and features, album reviews and on-demand music videos.

Launch can be reached via the "music" link on Yahoo's main page, or at http://launch.yahoo.com.

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