Real takes on Apple with music offering


29 May 2003

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RealNetworks has announced its own new music download service, RealOne Rhapsody. Charging US$0.79 for a song, the service is widely seen as a response to Apple’s iTunes service.

RealOne Rhapsody will be a co-branded version of the existing Rhapsody digital music subscription service. The company said that more than 330,000 tracks will be available for on-demand listening and more than 200,000 songs available for transferring to CD. Charging US$0.79 per track is a clear challenge to Apple, which is charging US$0.99 per song.

In addition, RealOne Rhapsody subscribers will be able to burn full albums or custom CDs, build their own custom Internet radio stations, listen to commercial internet radio stations, and browse music information and editorial recommendations.

Offered with a 14-day free trial, consumers can sign up for RealOne Rhapsody for US$9.95 a month.

Last month, Real Networks announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Listen.com. Listen.com introduced the Rhapsody music service in 2001. The parties expect the acquisition to be final in the 2nd or 3rd quarter.

The new service will replace the existing MusicNet service currently offered by Real Networks. Despite now promoting a rival offering, Real Networks still holds a 40pc stake in MusicNet.

By Dick O’Brien