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Yahoo! is a threat to Apple and Microsoft and is looking to end Apple’s and Microsoft’s dominance of the technology behind online music.

Yahoo! will sell Jesse McCartney’s new album “Right Where You Want Me,”(Hollywood Records), in the unprotected MP3 format.

That means consumers will be able to play it on any digital music device, including Apple’s iPod. MP3 files are the only type that will play on an iPod besides those downloaded from iTunes.

Since MP3 files have no no copy protection, they can be easily traded on peer-to-peer networks, emailed to friends or burned onto an endless number of CDs.

“We’re trying to be realistic,” said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. “Jesse’s single is already online and we haven’t put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we’re going to see how Jesse’s album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward.”

Labels and Netcos will be watching sales of the album, which Yahoo! will promote heavily to see whether consumers are more interested in buying unprotected MP3 files and whether it has any impact on piracy.

Yahoo! only has rights from Hollywood to sell the album in its entirety, for $9.99, not by individual track. ITunes and other musicstores also will sell “Right Where You Want Me” with copy protection.

“We think this is a really good experiment, because copy protection is not doing anything to stop people from stealing when you can just get unprotected tracks off of a CD or get music illegally online,” said Yahoo! Music topper Dave Goldberg. “We think it’s good to make it easy for consumers to get digital music on whatever device they want and for companies like us to not be reliant on one particular technology company for how our consumers can access music.”

For furter reading check out KOARs article “Why not Sell MP3’s?”

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