Monday, June 30, 2008

Rhapsody Music Store Will Challenge Apple's ITunes

Los Angeles Times: A new online music store from Rhapsody America -- a joint venture of RealNetworks and Viacom's MTV Networks -- will feature songs that aren't constrained by anti-copying measures in an effort to challenge the dominance of Apple's iTunes.

In May 2007, Apple broke new ground when it began selling music without copyright restrictions from EMI Group. But it hasn't been able to strike similar agreements with the other three major labels. Rhapsody will also announce that it will supply streaming music services and download stores on other Internet sites and services, such as Yahoo, MTV and popular social networking service iLike.

Rhapsody plans to charge 99 cents for a single and $9.99 for an album, the same pricing as iTunes. One of Rhapsody's selling points, however, is that customers will be able to listen to an entire song before purchasing it. ITunes gives customers a 30-second sample.

Hello a-bit-of-interesting, nice to meet you.
That's what I thought when I first read the summary above. Then I read the article.
I was a bit perplexed, not to mention full of questions about this-here scenario:
  • Let's just put this on the table - Apple has the same DRM free music in place, but only if the music is from EMI. Other downloads from iTunes have restrictions on the amount of copies that can be made.
  • If Amazon and Napster have the same copying-freedom as this Rhapsody thing will have, do they have an arrangement with all the other labels? Why is iTunes fcucked with only the EMI being DRM free? Where are the other peeps?
  • To add further kick to the previous point, I looked up the Amazon and Napster T&Cs.
    The Amazon conditions state: "You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use" No mention of a limit to the amount of copies you can make or a restriction to a music label.
    Napster goes a step further "Napster will not assign limits to the number of times MP3 Permanent Downloads purchased via Napster can be copyied, transferred or burned"
  • And if Rhapsody is doing this, who has said yes, make our music copyable? Why hasn't iTunes fixed that yet if everyone else is doing it? Surely if these other kids can get music DRM-free from any label, then iTunes can too?
I'm confused.
Either Michelle Quinn left out a whole crapload of information to inflate and fluff up the Rhapsody product into this great new music provider. When, it's really the same as all the other shmos out there.
OR, she didn't do enough digging into finding out why iTunes is now behind the rest of the pack in the binning of the DRM.

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