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Yahoo undercuts the competition on music subscription

Yahoo! is launching a subscription music service in the US for as little as $4.99 (£2.60) a month, in competition with download stores such as iTunes and Napster.

At $6.99 for one month, Yahoo!'s Music Unlimited service undercuts other subscription operators Napster and Real Networks, which have priced their services at $9.99 a month. Furthermore, Yahoo! is charging only $4.99 a month for an 12-month subscription.

Yahoo! Music general manager David Goldberg said the offer would last for a trial period of undetermined length.

The service will be rolled out to the UK next, according to a company spokeswoman, but the launch date is being kept under wraps.

The company is also reported to be developing a search engine for finding music downloads on the Internet, but would not comment on the story.

The service includes a number of features, including integration with Yahoo! Messenger, meaning users can browse and listen to fellow subscribers' music collections. Yahoo is also offering permanent downloads for 79 cents a song, and ad-free Internet radio stations.

It also gives users a fair amount of freedom, allowing them to transfer tracks from computers to portable music players and to access the service from any computer.

Real's Rhapsody service and Napster charge around $15 a month for subscriptions that allow transfers to portable music players.

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