Rhapsody has launched a free Android app called SongMatch. The SongMatch app will be competing head-on against the very popular song-identifying application company Shazam. The Rhapsody SongMatch app can identify a song after listening to it for a few seconds just like Shazam.
Between 1999-2000, Napster revolutionized the way that people were sharing music on the Internet. The service was a big wake-up call for the RIAA and the lawsuits started pouring in against Napster shortly after the service gained in popularity. Since then Napster was acquired by Best Buy and then sold to Rhapsody. Now Rhapsody is going to be merged officially into their on-demand music service, which will be the end of the Napster brand.
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RealNetworks Inc.’s paid streaming music service Rhapsody has been surprisingly approved on iTunes. Considering the amount of bandwidth that application possibly requires to work, Apple seems to be pretty lenient. Apple is also the #1 music retailer so allow a competitor into the system comes even more as a surprise. Apple generally rejects applications that would interfere with their business.
The application download is free, but new subscribers will have to pay $14.99 per month if they want to use the application for more than 7 days. Rhapsody users will be able to stream music from a collection of over 8 million songs. Rhapsody will work as long as the user is getting a cellphone signal or WiFi.
RealNetworks’ streaming music software Rhapsody-To-Go will be submitted to the Apple App Store for approval this week. When the application gets approved, Rhapsody customers will be able to access on-demand streaming of over 8 million tracks within the company’s library through 3G and WiFi connections.
The application will work with the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPod Touch. Currently a Rhapsody membership costs about $14.99 per month, but the application itself will be free. Next RealNetworks will be working on a Google Android version of their application.
Spotify, a Rhapsody competitor submitted an application back in July too. Currently Spotify is not available for download in the U.S. The announcement was made on the Rhapsody blog.
RealNetworks, Inc. (NASDAQ:RNWK) is opening up a new feature for Rhapsody, their iTunes competitor.Â Prior to launching this feature, Rhapsody offered subscribers streaming copy-protected audio for a monthly fee and the file format was incompatible with iPods and iPhones.Â But now Rhapsody will be selling DRM-free MP3s a la carte and they will be compatible with the iPod and iPhone manufactured by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Customers will be able to access 30 second samples of each track.Â Most of the tracks will be around $0.99 per song and $9.99 per album.Â Rhapsody currently has about 5 million songs provided by Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI, and Warner Music.
To appease the demands of music labels, Real will provide “a strong emphasis on the digital album with merchandising centers for ‘new album releases,’ ‘old favorites,’ and ‘who’s on tour.’”Â Labels prefer to sell full albums rather than individual songs.
As part of the launch, Real offered the first 100,000 users to sign up for the MP3 store a free album.Â Real commands about 1% of the online music download market.
Best Buy (Best Buy Co., Inc) has partnered with Real Networksâ€™ Rhapsody and SanDisk to launch a digital music store. It will also start selling the SanDisk Sansa e200R Rhapsody digital music player which will play songs downloaded through its music store. Best Buy plans to compete with Apple’s iTunes and Microsoftâ€™s Zune through this new service. It also plans to make sure its employees promote the service to customers. It looks like Best Buy will charge $14.99 a month for a subscription service and .99 cents for single track downloads. I for one do not think we need another retail digital music store. This has failure written all over it.
Best buy will essentially be competing with itself because it already carries a line of Apple iPods and will carry the Microsoft Zune which comes out this holiday season. I am not sure how Apple or Microsoft, who have their own digital music stores, feel about this move. I think that Best Buy needs to stick to what it does best â€“ sell electronics. Going into the digital music business is bad news for a retailer. This service will most likely fail before it ever gains any traction.