Yahoo’s recent announcement that the company would maintain its low pricing for its digital music service Yahoo! Music Unlimited could prove to be a much smarter move that simply an expensive marketing policy. Parks Associates has released new research showing that digital music fans aren’t prepared to go above $10 a month for a music subscription service, in fact, one third think these services should be free.

As well as maintaining the financial pressure on Real Rhapsody and Napster, it also shows the company has done its homework on music users’ current preferences. It might well be that in time folks will be willing to pay more but it’s still a long sell for music subscriptions and with Yahoo! launching in the UK in January, following HMV and Virgin Digital launching on these shores, it will be most interesting if it tailors the service for English consumers or simply rebadges the US service.

While Yahoo! could influence the pricing of UK digital music services, Rhapsody could still be the most influential in terms of usability and service structure should it ever open its doors. HMV and Virgin Digital will bring in the element of in-store guidance and presence but are unlikely to rock the pricing boat as they’re not quite so flush as Yahoo!