In Box
By Peter Lewis

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Finally there's an Internet music service that seems to be listening to its customers. Yahoo's new Music Unlimited online music service, still in beta testing and available only for Windows XP computers, solves the "rent vs. buy" issue by offering users both options: a subscription service that lets them listen to and stash any song or album in its library for as little as $4.99 a month, less than half the monthly price of similar streaming music services from Napster and Rhapsody, plus the ability to buy "burnable" versions of the songs for 79 cents each, cheaper than the 99 cents charged by Apple's iTunes Music Store. (Yahoo's nonsubscribers pay 99 cents.) Users must download Yahoo's Windows-based Music Engine music-management program, which controls rips and burns, playlists, and transfers to a limited selection of MP3 and Windows Media Audio players; sorry, the Apple iPod is not among them. The tunes stop playing if the subscriber stops paying, unless they're bought and burned to CD. Yahoo's music catalog is not as broad or as cleanly designed as Apple's, but it's certain to gain depth and polish--and probably a subscription-price increase when Yahoo officially launches it. For now, though, it's the best of both worlds for music-loving Windows PC users, and the best bargain.