Yahoo will acquire former Apple partner Musicmatch in a $160 million cash deal, the companies announced yesterday.

Musicmatch, which provided the Windows software shipped with iPods until Apple released iTunes for Windows last October, offers a music subscription service, On Demand, and last September launched its own music download service, Musicmatch Downloads.

Yahoo is attempting to become a "major player in digital music", the company said. it hopes the Musicmatch acquisition will allow it to extend its music service from 12.9 million listeners to an estimated 23 million listeners, based on the numbers for Musicmatch's online radio network. Musicmatch also claims to have over 225,000 music service subscribers.

Yahoo plans to offer several product innovations and new initiatives by the end of this year as it continues to expand its digital music business, though it did not offer any details.

Representatives from Yahoo and Musicmatch could not immediately be reached for comment.