Yahoo Inc. yesterday introduced the test version of a service that lets people search more than 50 million music and other audio files on the Internet.
Selections include podcasts, music downloads, speeches and interviews and related information such as music videos and album reviews, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo said.
The service (audio.search.yahoo.com/) may help Yahoo lure more Internet searchers and customers to its subscription music download service. Google Inc., the most-used search engine, doesn't offer a comparable service. Both companies have added video search in the past year as more people use the Web with high-speed broadband connections.
"A lot of searchers at this point are looking for entertainment," said Kathryn Kelly, a Yahoo spokeswoman. "This rounds out our multimedia offering."
The service offers samples of certain songs and links to music download sites from companies including Napster Inc. and RealNetworks Inc., as well as Yahoo's service. Yahoo provides a list of links to the online music services that offer files for download.
Yahoo will earn a share of the revenue for songs bought from competing music sites, Kelly said. That gave companies including Napster and RealNetworks the incentive to give Yahoo their song lists, Kelly said.
Yahoo isn't displaying ads on the site, she said.
The company in May introduced the Music Unlimited subscription service that allows users to download any number of songs for a monthly fee. Yahoo's $5 to $7 monthly subscriptions undercut rivals including Napster and RealNetworks, which charge more than $10 for comparable services.
Yahoo's site will search for podcasts, or audio files produced by broadcasters such as National Public Radio and individual computer users. Apple Computer Inc., maker of the iPod music player, in June started offering a search engine for podcasts in its iTunes Internet music store.