Yahoo vs. Rhapsody – Why Yahoo Lost

I’ve been a subscriber to Yahoo Music, first with their Radio, and then their Unlimited service since 2005. I’ve loved the ability to listen to a huge collection of music at my fingertips. Since 90% of my music listening takes place on my computer while working, I never really had to worry about taking my music on the road on being portable. I also love being able to listen to music legally without having to feel guilty about downloading music off the internet. I’m a very big supporter of keeping music legit.

My father and brother have been Rhapsody fans for awhile. They’ve been showing me all sorts of different cool things about Rhapsody. I even went and tried a trial demo. But I was just so used to the YME (Yahoo Music Engine) interface, and I liked a lot of features in YME that Rhapsody lacked, so I suck with YME.

Well, it looks like after a few years Yahoo threw in the towel and their users transfered to Rhapsody. I was rather disappointed it, but I started to think why YME lost out to Rhapsody. I think Yahoo could have kept it going for awhile, but I think they probably figured it would be better to just make a deal with Rhapsody. Is Rhapsody really that much better?

Head-to-Head – It seems like the experts really liked YME more than Rhapsody. Comparing content, download speed, quality, player, and cost it looks like many prefer Yahoo Music Engine. In fact, almost any review I looked up, YME won. So why is Rhapsody ahead with more users?

1 – Rhapsody Marketed Everywhere

I’ve seen Rhapsody marketing online, radio, TV, and anywhere else possible. I’ve seen different campaigns and strategies. In fact, when explaining what my Yahoo Music account was, I basically had to explain is a “Yahoo’s version of Rhapsody.”

What about YME? They only advertised on Yahoo, and mostly only on their music aspect of their website. Sure, it was an efficient and low cost way to do it, but they didn’t really try to break out other ways. I really think this hurt YME. They might have gotten more users for less money, but at the end of the day people know Rhapsody’s name vs. Yahoo Music Engine. Besides, Yahoo Music Engine and Yahoo Music Unlimited? Rhapsody’s name is just better.

2 – Rhapsody Has More Ways To Access It

Yahoo Music Unlimited can be accessed via their client. Um, yeah, thats it. While their client is really good, better then Rhapsody I think, they only have it. Thats it, and it can be slightly bloated. What about Rhapsody?

Rhapsody can be accessed via the website, their windows client, Sonos, TiVo, and many other devices. I mean, Rhapsody overcomes the limitation that really didn’t bother me: listening not at your own computer. This leads to my last point:

3 – Rhapsody Made Partners

Yahoo has always been really good at keeping to themselves. When trying to take on Apple’s iTunes, the leader of the pack, you can’t afford to just work on your own stuff. I mean, I’m sure the Yahoo people working on Music Engine did take a “live or die” approach. Yahoo does hundreds of things. Music is just a little part of their grand scheme.

Rhapsody? It was their whole focus. If they failed, they are out of a job. With competitors like Yahoo, and the infamous name of Napster, Rhapsody couldn’t take their competition lightly. I don’t know all the details of their business, but their deals with companies like TiVo really helped expand their brand and brought in new users.

Conclusion

I’ll be sad that Yahoo Music Engine will be shutting down, but Rhapsody is still really good. What can be learned? Stay ahead of the game. Make sure your company is the innovator. While Yahoo may have had all the resources, I really think they didn’t take their program seriously. Support was iffy, updates were far and few, and new ground breaking innovation was just lacking.

Hopefully I’ll be writing how I love Rhapsody… and perhaps I won’t we’ll see how I like it.

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