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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Tunes the IM way

File-sharing isn't the only way the music fans at your house will be swapping tunes. If Yahoo and MSN have their way, instant-messaging will soon be kids' favorite way to share music. "While the popular IM software already lets people listen to online radio, new versions will let people share and interact with one another's digital playlists," CNET reports. Yahoo's plans are still sketchy (though it just acquired the MusicMatch online service), CNET adds, but Microsoft has already announced it would tie its new MSN Music Store into its Messenger service. MSN's testing the packaging of Messenger with its ThreeDegrees software, which allows IM-ers to share their music playlist with other members in a private group. Sounds like it could be a lot like the new stand-alone service Grouper that I mentioned last week in "Legal Online Music." Grouper allows a private group of friends to listen to each other's music, but it's "streamed," not downloaded, thus legal (no copyright-theft issue, so the RIAA can't sue). Meanwhile, a new study found the MP3 player market is "about to explode," CNET also reports, including teenagers who will be spending their allowances (or hard-earned money) downloading music from the likes of iTunes, Napster, and MSN Music Store onto all those MP3 players.


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