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The BBC's Russell Trott
"It was one of the most popular sites on the internet"
 real 56k

Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Yahoo joins online music venture
Napster founder Shawn Fanning
Napster founder Shawn Fanning's faces more rivals
Internet portal Yahoo has joined the alliance between Vivendi Universal and Sony intended to rival Napster's online music sharing service.

The music of Vivendi Universal and Sony Music will be available - for a fee - through the Yahoo website, the world's most widely used portal.

The news of the deal sent Yahoo's share price soaring 20% on Wall Street.

Online music ventures
There has been a rush to take advantage of the popularity of downloading music from the web since Napster, a pioneer in the growth of online music, was ordered to stop members using its site to swap copyrighted music.

The European online music market is expected to soar in value from 333m euros last year to more than 2bn euros (1.26bn) by the end of 2006, according to internet research firm Jupiter MMXI.

The success of Napster not only caught the music giants on the hop, but has demonstrated that the online music age has already arrived for tens of millions of music fans.

Half the world's music

Duet, the name of the new company formed between Sony and Vivendi, is scheduled to launch this summer.

We want to put the maximum amount of music on the maximum number of platforms

Jean-Marie Messier
Vivendi Universal
It hopes to license 50% of the world's music.

But competing services are queuing up to form rival services and grab a stake of the new market.

The intention is to provide a secure site for downloading music whilst ensuring the protection of all artists and copyrights. Essentially it cuts out the High Street record store.

Growing queue of rivals

Earlier this week, the music firms AOL TimeWarner, Bertelsmann and EMI joined forces to launch their subscription-based music using the software of RealNetworks.

That service, called MusicNet, is also aiming to launch later this year.

And Microsoft's MSN internet portal announced on Wednesday that it intends to offer an internet music broadcasting service that will lay the foundations for offering music downloads or online music subscriptions.

Up and running

Meanwhile, Napster is still up and running, using a filter to block copyright music.

But the record firms say that the filter is not effective enough and have started a new legal battle against the pirate firm.

Napster software allows users to search for MP3 music files stored on the hard drives of potentially millions of users. The files can be swapped for no charge.

Record firms said that the website was costing them billions of dollars in lost royalties, and won a court case to ban Napster from using copyright music.

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See also:

13 Feb 01 | Business
Napster rivals celebrate ruling
21 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms dismiss Napster deal
03 Apr 01 | Business
Music giants form Napster rival
23 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms rival Napster
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