Rhapsody is an excellent service. Never since the days of Napster have so many songs been available through one portal so easily. Yahoo has leveraged that power to bring full-length songs to its search results.
According to TechCrunch, users who search for an artist on Yahoo Search will now be able to play the artist’s songs directly from the search results- thanks to a shortcut sitting at the top of the page. Even better, the songs will be played in their entirety through Rhapsody’s “FoxyTunes” media player. This move dovetails nicely with Yahoo’s new “play the Web” strategy along with its desire to open its site for outside content and services.
Unfortunately, not all songs in the massive Rhapsody library will be available through Yahoo Search- only around 5 million are currently supported, though more should be continually added in the near future. Another problem is that while it sounds good that you can listen to full-length tracks directly from the search results, there’s still a limit of 25 full-length plays in any given 30-day period. Much like the Rhapsody software, and its online counterpart, you have to subscribe to the service to hear more. After your 25 plays are up, you can listen to as many 30-second previews as you want until the next month. Previews of songs your searching for will still serve the purpose, but it will get kind of annoying after a while. For unlimited streaming privileges, Rhapsody charges $12.99.
When a user searches for a song, the artist’s picture is displayed along with available music videos and tracks. Once they pick which song they want to listen to, the FoxyTunes Player launches near the bottom of the window. It’s the same idea Rhapsody deploys on its own website. The player displays artist, track, and album information, along with a Yahoo search link to find the song’s music video. Song playback doesn’t stop users from scrolling through the results, but once they input another search query, playback stops. Another unique feature is the fact that it doesn’t count a song as “played” until you’re a minute into the song, which gives you plenty of time to figure out whether it’s what you’re looking for or not.
I think Yahoo was smart to snag Rhapsody before Microsoft or Google did, as they’ll definitely not be left behind. I’m actually impressed that Yahoo brought this out before Google did. With Rhapsody out of the mix, it will be harder to find a service as comprehensive. I wonder how long it will take for Google to strike back.