Terra Lycos spins a new music subscription service

Having struck a deal with online music company Listen.com, Terra Lycos SA unveiled its own online music subscription service Tuesday boasting content from four of the five major labels.

The new music service, dubbed Lycos Rhapsody, is powered by Listen and based on the online music company's Rhapsody streaming music service.

The deal makes Terra Lycos, based in Barcelona, one of the growing number of online players hoping to lure listeners from free music sites to subscription services. But unlike some other online music offerings, Lycos Rhapsody is a streaming music service and does not offer music downloads or CD burning capabilities.

The companies say that the key advantage for Lycos Rhapsody is that it offers 10,000 albums of music from a variety of major labels including Sony Music Entertainment Inc., EMI Recorded Music Ltd., Warner Music Group and BMG Entertainment Inc. The major-label backed music download services, by contrast, are competing against one another and have yet to agree to cross-licensing.

The new service is being offered through a three-tier subscription plan, ranging from free to US$9.95 a month. Listeners who do not feel inclined to plop down any extra cash to hear music can access Lycos Rhapsody's 20 diverse radio stations for free. More serious radio fans can pay $4.95 a month to access 50 commercial-free radio stations with the ability to skip tracks. For radio junkies, $9.95 a month will buy unlimited on-demand streams, more than 50 commercial-free radio stations and the ability to skip tracks.

Users are being offered all levels of the service for free until June 30, however.

The launch of the new service is just the latest move by Terra Networks SA-owned Terra Lycos to drum up added revenue in a difficult market. The company also recently launched a subscription-based Web-page-building service as well as an ad-free subscription mail service.

For Listen, based in San Francisco, the deal offers it the opportunity to access Terra Lycos' legions of users, located throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

In related news, Listen announced another licensing agreement Tuesday, saying that it signed a deal with Zomba Music Corp. to add the independent label's content to its service.

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