“‘Microsoft is glad to see the labels are providing more flexibility. They’re providing that to anybody, not just to Apple,’ Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in an interview. ‘We think we can help the labels and shift behavior toward the legitimate purchase now that the flexibility has gone up.’ Microsoft Corp., too, is entering the online music fray next week with MSN Radio Plus. Though it will initially charge $4.99 a month for streaming – listening to music while connected online – MSN may one day match Apple’s per-song downloading onto computers, said Hadi Partovi, general manager of MSN Entertainment,” reports May Wong, Associated Press Technology Writer.
“‘The hardest part was to convince the labels that 99-cents-a-download is a legitimate business, and Apple did that work already,’ said Josh Bernoff, an industry analyst at Forrester Research… ‘If it weren’t for Steve Jobs’ persistence, I don’t think this would have happened,’ said Hilary Rosen, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America and its most vocal piracy fighter,” Wong reports.
Wong writes, “Listen.com, which is being acquired by RealNetworks, plans to keep charging subscriptions to Rhapsody, its online music service, while adding a pay-per-song option, said company spokesman Matt Graves… Dan Sheeran, vice president of marketing at RealNetworks, sent Apple a thank-you e-mail. By promoting the idea of legal downloads, he said in an interview, Apple ‘is really good at getting a lot of attention – and other people tend to get the economic benefit.'”
Full article here.