Senin, 30 Juni 2008

Rhapsody on Monday partnered with MTV Networks to launch Music Without Limits. They want to accomplish three goals in the digital-music industry: Speed the migration from proprietary formats such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) music; empower music fans to stream full-length songs and buy MP3s from music sites and social networks on the Web; and integrate digital music directly with mobile phones.

"Until now, legal digital music has suffered from severe limitations on where consumers could buy it and how they could use it," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks. "Music Without Limits fixes those problems and will make digital music easier and more valuable for consumers."


The Rhapsody MP3 catalog will include more than five million songs from all four major music labels -- Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI -- plus independent labels. The Rhapsody MP3 Store is offering digital albums, most for $9.99, and tracks for 99 cents.

Rhapsody stocked the store with DRM-free MP3 music from its inventory, as well as its partners, including iLike, Yahoo, MTV Networks, and Verizon Wireless. Rhapsodys MP3 Store lets consumers listen to full-length songs instead of 30-second samples. Purchased tracks and albums can be downloaded into Rhapsody, RealPlayer or iTunes.

Beginning in the weeks ahead, consumers will be able to enjoy full-song playback (up to 25 songs per month per person) whether they are on Yahoo Music or, or, and they will have the ability to go from playing a song on those sites to purchasing a DRM-free version of the music. This is a scalable model to monetize the potential for music consumption across social networks. Artists and labels will be paid royalties each time their music is played.

On the mobile front, Rhapsody will also push much of its inventory through Verizons V CAST Music service. Verizon Wireless customers -- subscribers to the unlimited V CAST Music with Rhapsody service or not -- can purchase music directly from their phones and have the songs delivered over the air to their handsets. Any tracks purchased over the air will be downloaded -- in DRM-free MP3 format -- to the customers device.


"There was a time when Rhapsody was a leader in this digital music, but now it seems to me like they are more of a follower. already offers DRM-free MP3s. and so does Napster. I dont see what makes this much different than a me-too announcement at this point," said Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media.

The biggest challenge for Rhapsody -- and for Amazon and Napster -- is educating the market. Analysts said the majority of consumers are unaware there is any advantage to buying music anywhere besides Apples iTunes Store. Since Apples iPod is the dominant player, consumers have a natural tendency to buy music from iTunes.

"Gradually over time I think consumers will learn of the advantage of DRM-free music, but I think the primary beneficiary will be, not Napster or Rhapsody," Leigh said. "These companies will continue to stick around, but its going to be hard for them to become leaders again."


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