Watch out iTunes, you have just got another major contender today as Real Networks’ Rhapsody MP3 store opens up for business.
A couple of interesting and attractive features of Real’s Rhapsody:
– promises to work with any computer or device, including iPods
– a Mac download manager is available to let users download all their songs as a complete package
– successfully secured the catalogs of all four major music labels.
– full length previews (I love this feature the most). non-subscribers can preview as many as 25 complete songs, while existing Rhapsody members can sample any song they like
– However, unlike Amazon, Real won’t offer re-downloads for lost songs
How About Pricing?
Track pricing is identical to Napster and most other a la carte download stores, with individual songs costing 99 cents and full albums typically priced at $10. Windows-only subscriptions will remain in place and cost $13 per month for PCs alone or $15 for those who also want device transfers to Rhapsody-compatible devices.
It’s good to see other major players such as Real Networks join the music market. I kinda remember back in the days when Real Media (RA, RM) were popular formats used for online streaming when I was still using a 56K dialup modem.
Apart from Real Rhapsody, Amazon and Napster has already joined the DRM free musics bandwagon earlier this year. Meanwhile, just look (and probably laugh) at what Microsoft is doing with DRM.
It’s good when there are other choices sometimes then to let iTunes be the major and only player in selling musics online.