Yahoo's New Media Device

Yahoo has just announced a cool new wifi device, called the SanDisk Sansa Connect, that comes ready to listen to Yahoo Music (see Yahoo Music overview here along with competitors) and it also syncs up with your Flickr account.

This gives them something to promote as Apple spreads its iPod empire and Microsoft markets its Zune music (and soon, phone) device.

The Sansa Connect is $250 and comes with 4 GB of memory and a (small) 2.2 inch screen.

If you are a subscription music fan and willing to pay $15 or so per month indefinitely for access to a large library of songs, this may be a device you’ll want to have. Certainly having access to Yahoo’s entire music collection of 1 million+ songs on a portable device is going to be attractive. But as the DRM walls fall, owning songs outright will be more attractive to many users than the indefinite subscription approach.

Yahoo’s Ian Rogers (listen to my interview with Ian Rogers here) is touting the device and the Yahoo subscription plan v. downloadable music. He does make one off-putting remark at the end of his post when he suggests that iPod users only have pirated music on their iPods:

For those of you about to complain about the $12/month to get unlimited tracks (like, um, Steve Jobs), check yourself before you riggity wreck yourself. Labels and artists get paid for every radio play and every Yahoo! Music download to the Sansa Connect, whereas we all know iPods are mostly full of not-paid-for MP3s. At Yahoo! would like to help maintain a healthy music business, compensating labels and artists at a fair price to consumers. The labels and the consumers have been pretty far apart in this negotiation and we think we’re doing a damn fine job striking a balance between the two with the rich feature set Sansa Connect and reasonable monthly price of Yahoo! Music Unlimited. We hope you think so, too. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, right? (emphasis added)

Ian, those songs on iPods are usually (sometimes? often?) from ripped CDs that were purchased (and ripped) quite legally. The artists, and especially the labels, were already paid once for those songs. Just because I want to now listen to them on my iPod doesn’t make me a music stealer. Consumers don’t want to keep paying for the same songs over and over and over again, just to be able to play them on a new device. And they shouldn’t have to, either.