Yahoo Licenses CD/DVD-Burning Technology

Yahoo has licensed CD/DVD burning technology from Sonic Solutions for its recently launched online music subscription service and its media player. The multi-year licensing agreement was announced earlier this week.

“Because Yahoo Music services are so widely used, Yahoo required a burning engine that was fully featured, easy to integrate, and that allowed them to release new versions quickly,” said Jim Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Sonic’s Advanced Technology Group.

Burning Up the Competition

Yahoo has been burning up the competition with its online music offerings lately. Napster’s shares plunged 26.8 percent on the Nasdaq Stock Market and RealNetworks’ shares fell 21.1 percent when details of Yahoo’s online music subscription service were released on Wednesday.

Yahoo Music Unlimited debuted in beta with a basic price of US$6.00 a month. That price gives users access to about a million songs, which can be downloaded and transferred to portable players. Sonic Solution’s AuthorScript takes that concept a step further to allow Yahoo Music users to burning custom music CDs and DVDs.

A Necessary Move

Sonic’s Taylor said with its support of all major audio formats, built-in support for new models of CD and DVD drives, and a small footprint for fast downloading, Sonic AuthorScript was an ideal solution for Yahoo.

Inside Digital Media senior analyst Phil Leigh told TechNewsWorld that licensing CD burning technology was a necessary move for the online portal giant because its competitors already offer the feature.

“The burning software Yahoo licensed from Sonic enables music downloading in a smaller footprint,” Leigh said. “So music will download faster.”

Music-Centric Features

AuthorScript Music provides Yahoo Music with over forty music-centric features that have been built for online music service providers and audio application developers.

In addition to the smaller footprint, features include MP3 CD support that allows Yahoo Music users to create CDs that can be played in MP3 CD players, and SilentSelect technology that automatically supports CD/DVD burning and playback in new drives as they become available.

Future Applications

The licensing agreement with Sonic also gives Yahoo DVD capability. Analysts said that has future implications that could compliment the company’s other offerings.

“Yahoo licensing this technology could imply a move towards video downloads,” Leigh said. “It certainly gives Yahoo the ability to offer that through its Music Unlimited. But that’s more of a growth path than it is an immediate application.”

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