Yahoo Music has re-launched its Artist Pages, giving you more control over the information you want to see. The new Artist profiles feature a fully customizable, widget-based layout that can easily be reshuffled to suit your needs. Yahoo Music has also opened itself up to a variety of services in an effort to become a one-stop shop for music fans. You can add widgets that will incorporate tour dates; YouTube videos; Flickr feeds; links to the iTunes store; music streaming from Pandora, Rhapsody and Last.fm; current news and more.
You can access the new Artist Pages by searching from the Yahoo Music home page, which features a variety of popular artists and chart toppers. The home page also has some social networking-type features, such as a list of your video and audio playlists, recommendations, and top-rated songs. You can also see what your Yahoo "connections" and other users are up to.
The new power behind Yahoo Music, however, is found on the Artist Pages themselves. The best way to find an Artist Page is to set the drop down menu to "artists" in the Yahoo Music search bar. I began my test by searching for Coldplay. Landing on Coldplay's overview page, I was greeted with a left-hand sidebar that included the band's bio, a list of music categories into which Coldplay fits, a link to the band's homepage, and a list of similar artists.
Coldplay's page also featured a collapsible Rhapsody music player in the bottom left corner loaded with Coldplay music. As an added bonus, the music player can be embedded on your own Web site or blog, but not all Artist Pages include the Rhapsody player.
The rest of the Coldplay page included a few advertisements and a variety of widgets, which Yahoo calls modules. Arranging the widgets into my preferred layout was a simple drag-and-drop process, and I could easily close any widgets I didn't want to use. To see a complete list of available widgets I clicked on the "add to this page" button on the right-hand side of the page. From this list I could add or delete widgets including some that weren't in the default view; extra widgets include links to the Amazon store, FineTune radio streaming, and artist-related Yahoo Search results. If widgets are not your thing, Yahoo Music also supplies links to artist-specific pages about Albums, Tracks, Videos, Photos, and Concerts.
Overall, Yahoo Music puts on a strong showing with useful content that can be tailored to suit your needs. One drawback, however, was the fact that you could only choose one layout. So the layout I chose for the Coldplay profile was also used when I visited the pages for Green Day and Bob Dylan. I also found it annoying that links to the Last.fm and Rhapsody pages took you out of the Yahoo Music environment. I can understand why Amazon and iTunes require you to visit their pages to purchase music, but I fail to see why music streaming has to open up in a separate tab. Despite these minor drawbacks, Yahoo Music's new Artist Pages are a great way to connect with your favorite music.
In a MySpace-like move, Yahoo says it has future plans to open up Yahoo Music to users who want to create an Artist Page for their own musical endeavors.