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Music Media

Real Launches Music Download Service 497

fupeg writes "Spurred on by Apple's success, as well as their own purchase of listen.com, Real Networks announced their own online music service, dubbed RealOne Rhapsody. Here is the press release. They're offering songs at $0.79 per song, but with a $9.99/month subscription. The first two months are free. The press release says that 2/3 of their 300,000 song catalog is available for CD burning, while everything is available for 'on-demand' listening."
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Real Launches Music Download Service

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  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:09PM (#6059726) Journal
    Here is the link to the actual Rhapsody site [real.com] itself.

    And yes, it requires a Windows PC and is only available in the United States. It looks they are having a 14 day trial, with the first three months at $4.98, months 4++ being $9.95 each. The free trial covers unlimited "on demand" music and Internet radio. CD burning costs are not covered by the free trial ($0.79 per song on each CD). It also sports a horrid image containing both Avril Lavigne and Fiddy Cent in close proximity to that David Bowie guy, who plain refuses to die and go away.

    PS: fist post fools

  • So, correct me if I'm wrong but... The "on-demand" tunes are free, and you just pay for burning right?
  • Ummm..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by LupidStupy ( 663804 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:12PM (#6059765) Journal
    Thank GOD for newsgroups.
  • Awesome. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sabNetwork ( 416076 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:13PM (#6059774)
    I'd like to remind everyone, before making flash judgements:

    This is a good thing. Whether or not RealNetworks can pull it off (and they might, being the first comparable option in the Windows market), competition will help. Perhaps this will lower Apple's per-song fee.

    Bravo for taking a risk.
    • Not so awesome. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <.theaetetus.slashdot. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:19PM (#6059866) Homepage Journal
      This is a good thing. Whether or not RealNetworks can pull it off (and they might, being the first comparable option in the Windows market), competition will help. Perhaps this will lower Apple's per-song fee.

      Really? Let's say you're an average, music-loving consumer... You might download say, 20 songs a month, right?

      Apple cost: 20*$.99 = $20 (I'm rounding the penny)
      Real cost: 20*$.79 = $16 (rounding the penny) plus $10 for monthly fee = $36 dollars.

      So, why should Apple lower their fee? It's already cheaper. The only way the Real model gets cheaper is if you download more than 50 songs a month, every month you're subscribed.


      • by hawkbug ( 94280 ) <psx@fimb l e .com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:23PM (#6059907) Homepage
        $16 plus $10 equals $36? No wonder I flunked math...
      • Re:Not so awesome. (Score:5, Informative)

        by MonsieurPiedlourde ( 594399 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:47PM (#6060172)

        To be fair, the Real model allows for more browsing than the Apple model. Your comparing apples to oranges here (oooh, I kill me...)

        Apple cost 100*0.99=$99.00 (10 songs that you want to burn to CD - 90 that you downloaded but maybe didn't like...)

        Real cost $10.00 + 0$ for 100 songs listened to + $7.90 for the ones you liked = $17.90

        The models are quite different. One with the emphasis on getting songs you know the other on browsing for songs you might not know. Of course, the usefulness of being able to browse the library is highly dependant on the quality of each library.

      • So, why should Apple lower their fee? It's already cheaper. The only way the Real model gets cheaper is if you download more than 50 songs a month, every month you're subscribed

        You overlooked listening WITHOUT burning. Throw that in, and Real's prices look a lot better.

  • Cost breakdown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <.theaetetus.slashdot. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:13PM (#6059776) Homepage Journal
    $9.95/month plus $.79/song... and this is supposed to be cheap?

    Sure, it's .20 cheaper than the Apple Music Store per song... However, due to that monthly fee, the only way it actually balances out is if you download more than 50 songs a month ($10/50=$.20 - download less than that and each song is correspondingly more expensive than the $.99 charge).

    Plus, this doesn't include the Apple $9.95 for a full album pricing option.


    • Re:Cost breakdown (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wawbo ( 197215 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:17PM (#6059830)
      But you have full access to the catalog for on-demand listening, plus all the niceties that comes with the service. I have been using Rhapsody for a while now and its just amazing by itself, with or without the ability to burn.
      Looking at it in another way, you can sample the full song before commiting to buying it, not just short 30sec clips.
      • But you have full access to the catalog for on-demand listening, plus all the niceties that comes with the service. I have been using Rhapsody for a while now and its just amazing by itself, with or without the ability to burn. Looking at it in another way, you can sample the full song before commiting to buying it, not just short 30sec clips.

        ... which I do for free on the radio now. I will readily admit that this doesn't let me listen to all of the indie stuff out there (except that I'm in Boston, with

      • Re:Cost breakdown (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:59PM (#6060282) Homepage
        sorry but if I cant send the song to my NEX-II or Ipod then it's 100% worthless.. i dont WANT to listen to the music on my computer while I'm connected tot the net. there are thousands of internet radio stations that do that, plus I remember there was one that would stream CD quality audio to you and allow you to listen on that pc when disconeected from the net.

        Theyt will fail because they refuse to supply what Apple is supplying... the ability for me to use the damn legal hardware I bought.

        apple has it right.. I can load the songs to my portable listening gear.

        this offering from real is a complete joke.
    • Yeah, but you don't have to pay the "Apple Tax" to use it, so it's going to be cheaper.
    • 99 cents/song

      16 songs


      I don't see any improvement due to technology.

      Now these guys charge 79 cents.

      The next guys charge 59 cents.

      And so on.

      Eventually, they're giving the music away free to get you to look at the banner ads.

      Napster's only mistake was not getting permission.
      • Re:Cost breakdown (Score:5, Informative)

        by JackMonkey ( 631985 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:34PM (#6060032)
        But with Apple's service the breakdown is more like this:

        Good CD = $9.95
        CD with 2 good songs = $1.98
        One-hit wonder = $0.99

        vs. Sam Goody pricing:

        Good CD = $16.99
        CD with 2 good songs = $16.99
        One-hit wonder = $16.99

        Sounds like a much better plan to me.
      • Re:Cost breakdown (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Theaetetus ( 590071 )
        99 cents/song
        16 songs

        Yes/no... On the Apple store, if you want an album, it's only $9.95, not $.99/song - so a 20 song album costs the same as a 10 song album... and cheaper than that, it's cheaper.


  • Yeah right.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:14PM (#6059785) Journal
    I trust Real like i trust a child molester. Can i have more intrusion please?

    Apple has the market cornered thanks to their hardware locking in their customers.

    They don't even have to compete with these goons since no one is going to use it on the mac platform, and the PC platform will soon have thousands of cruddy profitless evil DRM driven competitors with terrible business models competeing against each other, far far FAR away from the OSX platform.

    • Re:Yeah right.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Funksaw ( 636954 )
      I don't know if I'd say that the above poster is a troll... I've had some pretty crummy experiences with Real. Each version has gotten more bloated, more intrusive... RealOne was when I finally gave up on the platform.

      I'm not sure if this will take off. I'm betting on "no" because of two factors:

      Subscription Fees are bad.

      People like to own, not rent, music.

      -- Funky
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:14PM (#6059786) Homepage
    "Real" guys can't have it both ways. Either do subscription thing (this is what Microsoft wants to do, and they're TOUGH competitors), OR do pay-per-song thing (this is what Apple already does, and they're tough competitors, too). Whoever has suggested this shit should be fired without any severance package.
  • on demand? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Musashi Miyamoto ( 662091 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:15PM (#6059796)
    I can't imagine most people paying for something that allows only on-demand listening. There are far too many limitations to on-demand listening:

    Must be on a Windows PC attached to a high-speed internet line in the United States. So that cuts out listening to your music on any sort of musical "appliance" like a radio or cd player... You can't listen in your car, or anywhere else.

    Its much like watching re-runs of Friends on pay-per-view. Who would want that?
  • by ih8apple ( 607271 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:15PM (#6059800)
    Did they already try this and fail miserably?

    It was called MusicNet. [siliconvalley.com]

    From the link: "The original MusicNet that launched in December 2001 was a dismal failure...The subscriber numbers were so low that MusicNet has never been willing to state them in public."
  • I wouldn't buy that service myself, but I think at the very least its a good sign that the industry is realizing that maybe (just maybe) distributing music on the internet isn't as gastly as first thought.
  • by Monkeyman334 ( 205694 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:16PM (#6059809)
    I'm suprised Real Networks is selling music, you can get it for free, from Real.com [real.com]. Just look very hard for the link, it's right next to the free real player download link... really...

    PS, Real Networks can burn in hell.
  • when they have been proven to not work. the only way they would beat the apple store is by using the same model but undercutting their prices and getting it out to windows users before iTunes for windows is released. The stat was that in the entire year before iTunes Music store was released, a total of 500,000 songs were actually sold from all of the subscription based services combined. Apple sold 1 million in the first 18 hours if i recall correctly.

    if anything, just copy apple and try to market it bett
  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:17PM (#6059831)
    from the article:

    "we believe this is a great offer to consumers who are now realizing the power of online music services"

    That's it, the consumer is just now realizing the power of online music. Sheesh.

  • Back-end economics? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by David Price ( 1200 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:18PM (#6059844)
    Apple's service enables CD burning. Real's, presumably, doesn't for recent hits - tracks that the record industry is particularly interested in keeping off the p2p services. I don't know what the actual factors are that influence Real's classification of a track as burnable or not are, but I think this makes for a viable theory.

    Real has slightly crippled their service relative to Apple's, but they are, in return, able to offer a discount to those users who download 50 songs or more per month.

    Of course, we have to ask - who is doing the returning here? I'd be interested in learning what sorts of costs are being placed on the supply-side upon these services. Is the record industry giving discounts to services depending on the level of crippledness they impose upon consumers? I'd be very curious to know what the terms of the contracts are that Apple and Real signed with the recording industry companies.
  • by cbovasso ( 608431 )
    I dont get why so many people pay per song when they can get them for free on Kazaa. Is this the moral line we are going to draw in the sand? I never understood the reasoning behind the idea of mp3's and p2p being illegal. Before the internet I used to tape songs off the radio and make mix tapes and trade them with friends. If thats not illegal how is this illegal? Because of quality? How can the output and not the act be the sole difference between something being illegal and something not. I don't get
    • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:31PM (#6059997) Journal
      This is the same industry that pushed through mandated SCMS (serial copy management) for all DAT music players. The result was that the consumer format failed even though it would have been an adequate replacement for cassette tape and avoided a lot of the trauma associated with burnable CD-Rs. They tried hard to kill that technology but failed as well. Minidiscs were a similar situation though Sony managed to kill that all by itself.

      The recording industry's business plan has been floundering for years - expecting logic from them, beyond the logic that they need to make money, is silly.

      Incidentally, those mix tapes were illegal, unfortunately, once they left your hands and entered someone else's. The difference was no one cared back then.

    • by jkarlin ( 171967 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:34PM (#6060042) Homepage
      I am so sick of comments like this. You can still tape songs off the radio, but do you want to know where the line between 'sharing with friends' and 'stealing' is? It's when your 'friend' (who you've never heard of) comes to your computer and downloads the song. It's where giving becomes taking. If you give them the song, as in you hand someone a great mixed cd or you email an mp3, that is sharing. If you post your 18Gigs on music on your server and let anyone download, that's stealing.
      And for the people who are going to respond that it's not stealing because they're just 0s and 1s, or becuase it's just copyright, we've all heard it. As for me, I'm glad to see these services starting. They're coming late to the party, we all know that, but it's what I've been asking for...a legal way to browse new music without paying $14 bucks at Best Buy.
    • I never understood the reasoning behind the idea of mp3's and p2p being illegal.

      Distribution, my son. Now, you are capable of giving that mp3 to millions and millions, for free.
      Previously, taping off the radio and 'sharing' with your friends was a mostly ignored, slight illegality. But if you were to tape an entire album off the radio, make a few million copies, and you and your buddies stand on street corners giving them out, you can be sure the RIAA would have come down on you.

      The copying and distrib
    • by Captain Beefheart ( 628365 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:38PM (#6060081)
      Primarily because a mixtape will be shared with maybe a dozen people, while you can put an mp3 in a shared Kazaa folder and have 100 downloads in the course of the next 24 hours. Those 100 downloads are further distributed, as all Kazaa downloads are shared by default. What you get is exponential distrobution.

      Although only 100 people have downloaded from you in that 24 hour space, multiply that by the distrobution rate and the result is staggering. (I'm not an opponent or proponent here, just attempting to explain part of the controversy.)

      Plus, while tapes degrade and take a while to make a copy of, MP3's last indefinitely, for all intents and purposes, and can be copied from one storage medium to another in a matter of seconds. And entire album can be no more than 50MB, an easy download for anyone with broadband.

      Hope that helps.
    • I pay because.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:39PM (#6060095)
      If I like the music, generally I want the artist to produce more of it.

      But if you don't have money, then I really don't see anything wrong with file sharing because you are not costing anyone anything.

      Similarly, in college I copied programs just like everyone else but now I buy pretty much anything I use regularly because I can afford to and like to support development of good programs (I also donate money to the EFF and FSF for the same reason).

      So my personal line is that if I can pay for it, I do, and if I can't, then it's OK to copy (because they wouldn't have money from me anyway). Of course the trick is deciding what you can afford and it's easy to rationalize that many things are too expensive - you just have to try and be honest with yourself about what you can afford.

      I did have two or three songs from P2P services that I liked and kept in my music library - but after the Apple service started up I bought them to help support the artists (and the originals I had were 160k MP3's so it wasn't to get better quality). I know they don't really see much money but the artists do also get the intangible benefit of perceived popularity, which might help them in dealings with the label...
      • Re:I pay because.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StarFace ( 13336 )
        If you really want to support the artist, download the music for free and send them a check personally (as a gift, do not specify it is for the record, they might not legally be able to accept it, then.)

        This what the industry is actually afraid of. Not "piracy." They fear a direct artist to consumer model, which is perfectly viable already in many different forms of media. The artists and consumers just need to wake up, some already are.

    • by mental_telepathy ( 564156 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:51PM (#6060203)
      1) Out of curiosity, did you share your tapes with 500,000 of your closest friends, some of whom are on other continents? 2) On the moral issue - Musicians should be paid for their work. Yes, it is immoral to continue to take for free when great strides are being made user control of the music. 3) How much is your time worth? Do I really want to save 99 cents downloading a song full of static over a 56k modem that claims to be a T3? Probably not
    • by Durindana ( 442090 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:55PM (#6060244)
      You're not being glib. You're being an asshole.

      First off, taping songs from the radio and giving them to friends is illegal, and always was; but no one really cared about music sharing before perfect digital copies became easily available.

      I'm not going to try to defend the recording industry's fiscal practices or their despicable assault on music fans' real rights - but frankly it's wide-eyed disregard for the just-as-real rights of music publishers that is fucking it up for the rest of us.

      How much cause would Sen. Hollings have if content companies weren't scared shitless by millions of pirates like yourself? Would we have the speech-destroying DMCA without music/movie piracy? I submit, possibly not. There's no point in debating the details of who gets what under copyright law if you're willing to flout that law for personal gain.

      But don't be surprised when the entertainment industries cajole the government into flouting some rights that you might think are important.

    • by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:09PM (#6060395) Homepage Journal
      Well, there are a couple reasons to use this service.

      1) KaZaa, MX, &tc are full of hassles, including:
      • fake songs
      • misnamed /misattributed songs
      • cooked mp3s
      • incomplete mp3s
      • low bitrate / re-encoded mp3s
      • radio edits
      • people who don't want to share
      • people who misreport their connection speed
      • leeches pulling down your bandwidth
      • RIAA clowns trying to squeeze your tits.

      These are a pain in the ass that didn't used to exist to such a high degree in file "sharing" and they've spoiled the experience for a lot of people. Hunting for some of the really good obscure shit I like to listen to has become such a hassle that I far prefer Apple's music service.

      2) The whole idea behind P2p was it was supposed to turn you on to new artists and broaden your horizons. In my experience, it's the web (forums, internet radio, weblogs, etc) that do a better job of that...so it makes sense that music downloading should be tied to it. Which message would you prefer:
      You gotta check out this MC kris track, it's called booba fet or something, look for it on kazaa.
      You gotta check out this mc Kris track, click here. [mcchris.com]

      A pay-for-play music service allows that kind of ease of linking with music that is cheap, easy to find, always available, ships for free, has no clicks of pops, bears full id3 tags and album art, whatever. It's finally a new way to use music, and not just an extension of a CD culture.

      And yeah, it's cool that the artists I like will get some cash, too. But then again, most of them have been on emusic for years...
  • IT's Real!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TedTschopp ( 244839 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:19PM (#6059860) Homepage
    How many of you trust or want Real to be selling you music.

    This is from the company hides their free player, tricks you into purchasing an upgrade, and has an install process which hijacks everything on your browser.

    Even if this was a good bargin I would reject if becuase it is from Real.

    Ted Tschopp
    • Even if this was a good bargin I would reject if becuase it is from Real.

      As opposed to Apple, whos QuickTime for Windows product won't even do fullscreen and the installer for which doesn't just hijack your file settings, it hijacks the whole damn machine with a huge pointless window that will not disappear until the installer has finished. Oh yes, and because it downloads stuff as needed, it takes ages to finish. Installing QuickTime on a modem certainly used to be something you did while eating dinner,

  • by killermal ( 545771 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:19PM (#6059864)
    Kazza is offering songs at $0.00 per song, with a $0.00/month subscription.
    • by Steve B ( 42864 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:22PM (#6059902)
      Kazza is offering songs at $0.00 per song, with a $0.00/month subscription.

      Plus all the viruses, mislabeled files, and just plain crappy rips you can download, all for the same low low price!

      Yes, Virginia, you can compete with "free" if what you're offering is actually worth money.

    • Oh, and don't forget the spyware [imilly.com].
      "About 3rd Party Applications Two applications are integrated inside the KMD. Cydoor provide the advertising technology in the bottom left hand corner of the KMD. Brilliant Digital make the engine for the incredible 3d ads you will start to see."
    • Well, Kazaa is cheap if you don't value your time or bandwidth. But considering how many badly encoded or just wrong files out there, and how slow transfer can be, anyone with a job is better off just paying for the songs and knowing they'll come down right the first time, off a high QoS server. I can't imagine ever downloading something off Kazaa if it was commerically available.

      Better user experience is definitely a good place for the legit services to provide value.

      I'm reminded of what my dad always sa
  • MP3? WAV? Real? SOmething propriatary?
  • what labels? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by schuster ( 39361 )
    all I want to know is, what labels have they signed up yet? I'm betting the big 5 aren't going to be as enthusiastic about working with real on this
  • emusic (Score:2, Informative)

    by merz ( 550238 )
    is still the best deal in my opinion. $15 a month for unlimited access. Sweet.
  • by Captain Beefheart ( 628365 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:22PM (#6059890)
    79 cents sounds fairly decent for burning tracks, but if "on demand," i.e. streaming, requires that horrid Real One player, you can count me out. That damn app is too intrusive, IMO. I just want something that can play a file, but they turn it into a braying "push content" mechanism that makes me want to punch a hole in the monitor. No thanks.

    And I can listen to Internet radio on Shoutcast et al...No wonder the RIAA was so adamant about getting rid of free Internet radio. The puzzle pieces are coming together, aren't they?
  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:22PM (#6059896) Homepage Journal
    "CD burning costs are not covered by the free trial ($0.79 per song on each CD)"

    You're kidding. They want to charge me for the use of MY CD burner and MY blank media? Gee, this plan is destined for success...
    • No, no, they're not charging you to use your burner, they're charging you to let you burn their content on your burner. You'd still be able to burn stuff on your own, you just wouldn't be able to download their songs and burn them for free. You pay a licencing fee which ultimately ends up in a few pennies making it back to the artist.

      Your comment is like saying "$18 for the latest rap CD? You gotta be kidding me, they're charging $18 to let me use my own cd player!"
  • by jason99si ( 131298 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:26PM (#6059935)
    Guglielmo Marconi has released a new system for music delivery, its called "Radio". Unfortunately, it doesn't provide the ability to select a particular song, but it does provide the ability to choose genre.

    The reduced functionality vs. Real's new system comes at a reduced price, FREE. And all songs are available for downloading and burning, all within a user's fair use rights.

    User adoption is still up in the air, and Nikola Telsa is challening the patent.
    • by veddermatic ( 143964 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:53PM (#6060225) Homepage
      Unfortunately, it doesn't provide the ability to select a particular song, but it does provide the ability to choose genre.

      Yup, your choices are:

      ClearChannel Alterna-Rock songs 1 - 15
      ClearChannel Alterna-Rock songs 5 - 20
      Infinity Radio Alterna-Rock songs 3-8, 14-20
      ClearChannel Pop songs 1-6
      Infinity Radio Pop songs 1-6
      ClearChannel Country songs 1 - 10
      Infinity Country songs 1 - 10

      The lack of being able to hear anythgin remotely different / interesting n the radio, along with $17.00 CDs of bands taht all sound the same that are overplayed to death is what is killing the RIAA. Oh wait, I forgot, it's piracy.
  • Subscriptions blow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wazzzup ( 172351 ) <astromac&fastmail,fm> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:26PM (#6059937)
    I've been buying CD's now since 1987 or so. I still like some of the CD's I bought back then. I cannot fathom having paid $10/month since 1987 just so I could still have it in my collection.

    I want to buy my music and call it mine to play whereever and whenever I darn well please thank you. Can you imagine forgetting a month and -poof- CD collection gone! I'm probably missing something here since I can't imagine this appeals to anybody.
  • The only other major player that is left to offer content at a lower price would be Microsoft, or a major music company.... I can see the price dropping even further as these services ramp up. I also think that the monthly fees will go away with future reincarnations of this business model. Maybe these music companies are starting to get a clue that people want to download music, and not pay 16 bucks for a CD with 13 tracks that is only 38 minutes long...
  • $0.79 per song, but with a $9.99/month subscription.

    So they expect people to pay $9.99 a month for the privledge of being allowed to pay them per song for lossy compressed songs? I guess there are some fools who will.

  • Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ryanr ( 30917 ) * <ryan@thievco.com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:30PM (#6059980) Homepage Journal
    I'm seeing a problem.

    I just subscribed to a trial of Rhapsody from Best Buy. (Is this the same as Real Rhapsody? No name confusion there...) (another side note, it's scary how much info Best Bad had based on my phone number at the cash register, but that's a YRO topic...)

    I've also been interested in iTunes, if they make a Windows version. This sounds interesting, too.

    Problem is, the two Rhapsody's are subscription-based. Presumably, due to partnerships, etc... all these various services will have somewhat different catalogs. I can afford to buy as much as I can afford at $.99/pop or whatever the price is... but I can't afford $10/service/month to have access to all the different songs to buy them.

    Hopefully they'll all figure out soon that the model should be $.xx/song with no membership fees. I think the only way this is going to work out is if consumers have unfettered access to buy all songs available regardless of who is offering them.

    To be fair, the Rhapsody from Best Buy seems to let me just download as much as I can eat, and burn them to CD if I want. I haven't read through all the license stuff yet, but obviously practically speaking, I'm buying copies of the songs. At $10/mo, that's only 10 songs to break even (assuming $1/song is fair). That's attractive, if the song catalog is sufficient.
  • by AnamanFan ( 314677 ) <anamanfan.everythingafter@net> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:31PM (#6059999) Homepage
    This is a way too complicated of a pricing plan for a basic home user.

    There are simply way to many rules with this plan as stated. I pay a monthly fee, so I should be able to use any song right? No, I have to pay for each song [after the trial]. So why am I paying a monthly fee? Then I get the song, and realize I can use it but for my computer?

    You try selling that to the guy on the street.

    That's why the Apple plan works. $.99 a song. We'll give you a discount if you buy a full album (for most CDs). No monthly fee. Burn, iPod, play your songs you got. There are some restrictions, but transparent to the average user. That's easier to sell to the guy on the street.
  • by SuperMario666 ( 588666 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:33PM (#6060018)
    10 tracks @ RealR - $7.90 + $9.95 = $17.85
    10 tracks @ Apple - $9.90 + $0.00 = $09.90

    25 tracks @ RealR - $19.75 + $9.95 = $29.70
    25 tracks @ Apple - $24.75 + $0.00 = $24.75

    50 tracks @ RealR - $39.50 + $9.95 = $49.45
    50 tracks @ Apple - $49.50 + $0.00 = $49.50

    So I have to buy fifty tracks per month before Real Rhapsody is even remotely competive, not to mention the fact that something like one-third of the tracks aren't burnable at all.
    • If half of your purchases are through albums (as is the Apple statistic, I think), then the prices get better!
      10 Tracks @Real = $7.90 + $9.95 = $17.85
      10 Singles @Apple = $9.90 + $0.00 = $9.90
      1 Album @Apple = $9.99+ $0.00 = $9.99

      25 Tracks @Real = $19.75 + $9.95 = $29.70
      25 Singles @Apple = $24.75 + $0.00 = $24.75
      1 Album + 13 Singles @Apple = $9.99 + $12.87 +$0.00 = $22.86

      50 Tracks @Real = $39.50 + $9.95 = $49.95
      50 Singles @Apple = $49.50 + $0.00 = $49.50
      2 Albums + 25 Singles @Apple = $19.98 + $24.75 + $0.00
      • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:34PM (#6060716) Homepage
        The only downside to the Apple mechanism? You need a Mac running OS X and you cannot 'sample' for free. On the other hand, that's what radio/movie/tv/cable does for you. And I cannot see Apple not doing something to fix that... perhaps a tie into Internet Radio, which iTunes *already* has a feature for... Perhaps 'on demand iTunes radio'?

        iTunes does let you take 30 second samples of each and every track available for download. It says so on the iTunes Music Store webpage [apple.com].
    • That ten bucks a month isn't just for a pretty front page. Did you read the press release? You get to stream any song in the catalog--the entire song--and create customizable radio stations. You could just stream the songs and use the radio until you get burned out on listening to the track, which is what most people will do anyway.

      Being able to stream a whole song on-demand makes the service cheaper because you dont have to cough up a dollar for the privelege of listening to and keeping the entire song.

  • Dodge this RIAA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:33PM (#6060023) Homepage
    Know what, kazaa is slow as shit and labor intensive if you're trying to get good quality. If someone would sell me a real unprotected mp3. (Not a windows only spyware-required piece of shit.) available for download on a fast connection with guaranteed quality and a simple search/purchase/download mechanism I'd pay.

    Of course, then what's to stop somoene from uploading it to kazaa.

    But the fact remains, as long as I can share amongst all of MY computers and MP3 Players I have no real desire to share with the universe if the price is fair.

    Back when we had to buy a cd, rip, encode, and upload for 3 days on a crappy modem there was a cost that made it worth trading with others. I'll waste days of my life on "artist A" if you waste equal time on "artist B" and we'll swap. With quick high quality legal downloads for a fair price I'd rather say "go buy it yourself, here's the link".

    If they can tap into that me-first (leachers abound) mentality and call it honest consumerism, they'll be loving life again. They can do so without limiting our civil liberties and suing the fuck out of everyone too.

    Unfortunately, until a record company actually does something to repeal the evil fuckin dmca, I ain't buying shit from them, ever again. And I haven't since that piece of shit communist legislation was passed.

    _|\___\|__ Dodge this RIAA!!!

  • SOS (Same Old Shit) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) * <[moc.ssovi] [ta] [vsa]> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:36PM (#6060064) Homepage Journal
    This model has been used before and failed miserably. Not many people want to listen to streaming music on their computer. While CD burning was a much needed feature a few years ago, today people want to be able to use paid downloads with their portable and home MP3 devices. Apple's iTunes service is great if you only have Macs, use an ipod as your portable, and don't have a home MP3 player like the slimp3, tivo series 2, or an audiotron. Burning a CD from a lossy format and then re-ripping in to MP3 is not going to work, especially when the CDDB data won't register. I doubt people are interested in manually entering ID3 tags.

    For a music service to be great it needs to have some or all of the following characteristics.

    • A HUGE catalog, similar to what is available for sale on amazon or cdnow.
    • Standard formats that will work in existing players and devices: MP3, possibly others SHN,OGG,FLAC, AAC
    • No DRM or DRM that doesn't treat the user like a criminal. Apple's DRM scheme is liberal but tying DRM to specific devices and platforms will not work with the other 97% of potential users. Any service needs to work with existing players so you might as well ditch DRM all together. Sharing a file downloaded from a service is not going increase "piracy" when there are already multiple methods to rip any music.
    • Music encoded at different quality levels where users pay a premium for higher bitrate and/or lossless files.
    • A multi platform www interface, there could be a tightly integrated client for windows, but there is no reason an interface can't work on all platforms.
    • A sense of community: reviews, message boards, chat, etc. Apple's music service needs this..
    • I agree with most of what you've stated. Unfortunately, I think that offering the user additional formats with different pricing models overcomplicates things. Personally, I know the differences between MP3, FLAC and OGG -- my Mom doesn't. If she were shopping at a store that offered all of them, she would probably be overwhelmed by the number of choices and just give up. It's great for the power users, but would be hard to sell to the average user -- iTunes has proven that people like a simple model ... "p
  • by booyaar ( 530605 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:38PM (#6060077) Homepage
    There's a lot of posts from people fed up with Realplayer. Give this a whirl:

    http://sn.hardnet.ro/realalt090.exe [hardnet.ro]

    (Windows only). Comes with the Real codecs and MediaPlayerClassic (no relation to the proper windows one - it's a very good bit of software) so you can play Real files without needing Realplayer.
  • This is an interesting phenomenon we are seeing here, and lines are being drawn here that are separating the morally-conscious from the hypocrites.

    For years, Slashdot readers have demanded an online music distribution service that was both affordable and convenient. Until then, many would proclaim, their only alternative was to illegally download copyrighted music.

    With Apple first, and now Real, our wish has been granted... or has it? We are now able to download hundreds of songs for pennies per track, but there are those who are still unsatisfied.

    There lie the true hypocrites. I am convinced they will use ANY argument to justify not having to pay for music, while trying to maintain some sence of moral propriety.

    I only wish they would drop the bullshit pretenses, stop bitching about the little details about these services they don't like, and just come out and say they don't want to pay for music and never intend to. At least be honest about it.

  • I'm sorry.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by captainstupid ( 247628 ) <dmv@@@uakron...edu> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @03:52PM (#6060217) Journal
    But why is this news?

    Rhapsody has been around for some time, I've been a subscriber for about 6 months now. There are many different Rhapsody partners, Real is only the most recent. List of Other companies that have been selling this same stuff for a while. [listen.com]

    Sure, real is offering cd burning at .20 cheaper than everyone else, but so what. I seriously doubt that Real was "Spurred on by Apple's success". There just the most recent of companies to negotiate a licensing deal with listen.com.

  • by Java Pimp ( 98454 ) <java_pimpNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:04PM (#6060329) Homepage
    2/3 of their 300,000 song catalog is available for CD burning

    So, I go to the store and buy a CD I like. But because of copy protection I will not be able to make a mix CD to take with me. Instead, if I want a mix CD, I must purchase the songs again through a service like this. Or, I could just purchase all the songs from a service like this and burn my own CDs however I like. But then I don't get the cool cover art or the feeling that goes along with owning something original.

    I know they are trying but somehow I still don't feel any better.
  • by inkswamp ( 233692 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:38PM (#6060769)
    This has probably already been pointed out, but I see everyone comparing Real's service with iTunes on a per-song basis. Despite the fact that Real doesn't even cleanly defeat iTunes on that basis (you have to download lots of songs for that to work out) I haven't yet seen anyone bring up the fact that iTunes music is cheaper per album. I've seen many album containing 16+ songs in iTunes for $9.99. That's significantly cheaper than Real's .79 per song + monthly subscription fee.

    The second point I want to make is that RealPlayer sucks butt on the Mac platform so Real stands to make zero inroads into the Mac market. I don't know what Real is like on Windows or elsewhere, but the Mac software is mediocrity in action. I wouldn't use Real's service at half that price unless they improved the lousy piece of dung that they pass off as their player. (Let's see, I close the main window and the application's menu bar disappears so I have to force-quit the damn thing. That's the hallmark of quality software.)
  • by los furtive ( 232491 ) <ChrisLamothe@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:40PM (#6060780) Homepage
    Real is on my short list for companies that will never receive a penny from me. My reason? Mostly because of the crap they try to pull when you install software, and then the crap they pull once it is installed.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @04:50PM (#6060884) Homepage
    I get to pay per song, I get to burn some of them, I get to pay a monthly subscription, AND I get Real's quality and un-intrusive software! Sign me up dude, I'm there!
  • by mrklin ( 608689 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nil.nek)> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @05:04PM (#6061031)
    Some gems from its term and conditions:

    You shall promptly notify Listen in writing upon your discovery of any unauthorized use or infringement of the Subscription Services (or their contents) or any patent, copyright, trade secret, trademarks or other intellectual property rights of Listen or its licensors."

    Great, we are paying to be Real's beta testers.

    "5 (d) Stolen Account Information Your Responsibility
    You are solely and entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your password, and for any and all activities that occur under your account."

    So if somebody hacked its site and downloaded user info en masse I am responsible as well?

  • by phisheadrew ( 526202 ) <phisheadrew.cinci@rr@com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @05:27PM (#6061254)
    Real didn't make this program. Rhapsody is a seperate program at www.listen.com who has many sponsers. As far as I can tell they are all the same, they just have a different logo. I got mine through www.jambase.com, RoadRunner has one, as do many other companies.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @06:09PM (#6061569) Journal
    I can just imagine. I'm browsing for music and play a track. I decide I don't want it. A window pops up: "Are you sure you don't want to buy this?". I say Yes. Another window pops up: "Are you really sure you don't want to buy this?". I click Yes. "Well scroll down to the bottom of this window and click on the really hard to see checkbox to agree that you definitely don't want us to draw money from your account to pay for it". I click on it. An hour later a window pops up: "Are you sure you don't want to get the track?". A bit later I kick up winamp. A Real window pops up going: "We at Real networks can see you like playing music. Would you like us to uninstall all of your other music apps and make Real the default and install spyware all over your hard drive and BTW do you want to buy that track?"

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.