First thing, I can not stand real media player. The ethics of the company, hiding shareware in the install process has always made me furious. I refuse to install it on my computers.
However, watching the controversy over the RIAA and the downloading of music has been something I have watched. It has been my assumption that music is fighting to be free, and once it is so, the artists stand to make much more money than they are now. As long as the record companies control the distribution of music, the artists will never achieve their earning potential. The biggest stars make their millions, but every other artist subsidizes the stars and typically barely breaks even selling their music through the record companies.
So today RealNetworks announced that if you download and install the Rhapsody software, they will give you 25 songs. That is not bad. My only fear is that in doing so, they will install spyware on the computer to make up some of the money that they are losing giving away the music. For the consumer, it is a windfall, and there is no commitment to buy any more music.
Soon most artists not under a contract will put their music out for free, and the exposure they will recieve will be much greater than any record label would ever give them.
The article is below the fold.
NEW YORK (AP) – RealNetworks Inc., facing intense competition from file-swapping networks and from Apple Computer Inc., will give away 25 songs for free each month as part of a new service that seeks to entice music-lovers to pay for more tunes.
Users who download RealNetworks’ new Rhapsody software will get to select the 25 songs from a library of more than 1 million tunes, the company said Tuesday.
“We believe that once consumers experience Rhapsody and share it with their friends, many people will upgrade to one of our premium Rhapsody tiers,” Rob Glaser, chairman and chief executive of RealNetworks, said in a statement.
For $9.99 a month, users will get an unlimited number of songs each month. For another $5, they can transfer the tunes to selected portable music players.
The prices and features are comparable with those Napster Inc. recently began to offer a portable service.