In the latest evidence that portals are ditching their walled-garden approaches in an effort to boost traffic, Yahoo Music is re-launching its artist's pages to include a number of new, third-party features. They include offerings from providers like iTunes, Amazon.com (NSDQ: AMZN), Last.fm, Rhapsody, Pandora, but other companies, including smaller music startups, may ultimately also be able to create applications for Yahoo Music, Yahoo says. In addition, users and smaller, independent bands in the future will be able to create artist pages , a move that feels a lot like MySpace, albeit without the large social community.
The relaunch, set for tomorrow, follows over eight months of development at Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). Though not spearheaded by new CEO Carol Bartz, it matches her strategy of trying to beef up the portal's features to make it a first stop for more people. For those third-party services where commerce is involved, Yahoo will receive a revenue share; the portal won't get a cut on third-party services that are promotional. Michael Spiegelman, head of Yahoo! Music, said the new design and functionality could also make it easier to sell more sponsorships on its artist pages.
Yahoo Music has faced a host of challenges in the past couple years, and shuttered its subscription music service and its radio service. Still, it remains one of the busiest music sites on the internet, reaching about 21 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR). The company's strategy differs from its primary competitor AOL (NYSE: TWX) Music, whose focus on building and launching a portfolio of niche sites has grown its audience to over 24 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore.
By Rory Maher