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A New Rhapsody From Real Networks

Techstination feature for Friday, April 29, 2005

A new Rhapsody from Real Networks. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Real Networks…which pioneered streaming audio and video on the Internet…is trying to lure digital music fans away from Apple's iTunes service….offering a new free version of Real's Rhapsody. Real Networks founder and CEO Rob Glaser….says it's called Rhapsody 25…

"And it allows any consumer to listen to up to 25 songs a month, not having to be a paying subscriber, no credit card. So anybody can try the new Rhapsody, anybody can send a playlist of songs they like to their friends. And then on top of that, we have our core business, which is selling subscriptions."

The new Rhapsody Unlimited lets customers listen to Real's library of about a million songs for about 10 dollars a month. Rhapsody to Go, for 15 dollars a month, lets them transfer those songs to Rhapsody enabled portable music players. The problem for Real is that Apple continues to dominate…the portable music player business with the iPod….more than 15 million have been sold. And they work best with Apple's iTunes service. Glaser had tried to forge an agreement with Apple's Steve Jobs a year ago…and was turned down. He calls Apple a closed system like the old Soviet Union. About Apple's success he says…

"Well communism had a pretty good run, didn't it, and it didn't work after a while. So based on the fact that they're having a good run, that they have the right long term solution." Have you approached Steve Jobs again? "I saw him at a mutual friends wedding and I wished him well…and it was a very nice wedding."

Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.