Wednesday, May 28, 2003

RealOne Rhapsody

Real has launched a competitor service to Apple's called Rhapsody featuring on-demand streaming at $9.99 a month and as many burnable songs as you want at $0.79 a burn. It's available for PC. I think this is an improvement from previous offerings and I'm not sure how it stacks up to Apple. Generally, people prefer flat rate pricing to metered pricing, and in that sense $9.99/month is good, but you don't get to *keep ths songs on your computer*. I like the lower price for burning songs (79 cents instead of 99 cents), but I don't really want to burn songs onto a CD all that much, nor do I want to go through the trouble of burning a song to CD and then ripping it so I can play it on my mp3 player. But given that iTunes 4 is not yet available for PCs, and most PC owners don't have iPods anyway, I'm not sure how much of a difference any of this will make.

The key to this business is who can sign up the best deals with the most record companies, not number of users (yet), and I'm sure the RIAA is making sure that online distributors remain weak. ClearChannel has consolidated a fragmented media market and now charges content companies for distribution (instead of content companies charging media companies for content, which is how web radio works now).

And thank you those who wrote in pointing out that aac is no more proprietary than mp3. I meant "uncommon, and amenable to DRM".


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