AOL revamps its online music service - East Valley Tribune: Business

AOL revamps its online music service

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Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 6:49 am | Updated: 2:47 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

LOS ANGELES - Internet giant AOL has revamped its Web-based music download service, adding music videos, streaming radio and user community features.

The new version of AOL Music Now is scheduled to debut Tuesday, offering some 2.5 million audio tracks and thousands of music videos, the company said.

Audio tracks can be bought individually for 99 cents, while music videos cost $1.99 each.

The service offers unlimited downloads at a monthly rate of $9.95, or $14.95 for the ability to transfer songs to compatible portable music players.

By increasing video content, AOL is putting itself in a better position to compete with rivals like Yahoo, said Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media.

Other established online music services also sell video content or allow computer users to view - not download - videos free of charge. But the AOL Music Now subscription plan includes unlimited music video downloads.

"The previous service was very simple in its construct with the main goal of allowing people to listen to unlimited music on demand," said Amit Shafrir, president of AOL Music Now.

"The new service has a lot more features to it. It's completely redesigned," he said.

Among the new features are more than 200 AOL radio stations and XM Satellite Radio channels along with tools for users to browse the playlists of other subscribers.

Shafrir declined to say how many subscribers the service has.

AOL first entered the online music market in 2003, launching a music download store powered by MusicNet that was available only to subscribers of AOL's Internet service.

Last year, the company acquired another established online music provider, MusicNow, and launched a preview version of AOL Music Now in November, opening the Web-based service to non-AOL members.

AOL also runs a separate music portal that offers ad-supported music news and other content for free.

The redesign of AOL Music Now comes as the field of licensed online music services has been growing.

Earlier this summer, MTV Networks Inc. launched its own music subscription service. Other online music services such as Yahoo's Music Unlimited, Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store, RealNetworks' Rhapsody and Napster Inc. have also been vying for a bigger piece of the market.

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