Okay, music lovers. I’m readying a report on the major subscription services for Windows users. (Napster, Yahoo! Unlimited, Rhapsody) The concept is terrific, and much as I love iTunes and the iPod, the ability to have unfettered free access to music is great. Unfortunately, the service I really love is Yahoo, because of its player’s support for FLAC, OGG, and AAC, and the subscription service’s use of high-quality 192 kbps WMA files. (The others use 128 kbps, which sounds like crap.) Why unfortunately? Because Yahoo’s player is buggy and ugly. Anyone else had this problem? I know there are Windows users out there.

By the way, just because I say the Yahoo engine is worst doesn’t mean the other ones are a whole lot better. All of the player apps and stores are clunky compared to iTunes, and audio quality suffers on Rhapsody and Napster. Add to that a confusing tangle of players, few of which actually support the subscriptions, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for continued Apple dominance.

Still, if you have given these a try, let me know how it’s going for you; drop me a line. Full report coming in the next couple of weeks with a final verdict. And yes, there are other services for independent and experimental music; we’ll look at more of those soon (like Warp’s great Bleep service). I just want my commercial CDs without having to go into so much debt. When you guys release a CD, tell me, and I’ll go and actually buy it. 🙂