Technology Marketing columnist: ‘Apple didn’t invent legal online music distribution – far from it’

“Think of online purchasing of music, and you probably think of Apple’s iTunes. Introduced in April, it’s a good service; but more importantly, Macintosh computers tend to be the systems of choice for the chattering classes,” writes Jonathan Angel for AdWeek. “However, Seattle-based RealNetworks would like you to know that Apple didn’t invent legal online music distribution. Far from it.”

Angel reports, “…in April, RealNetworks did something bold. It walked away from MusicNet, at least as a retailer… [and] it closed a $30 million deal to purchase erstwhile rival and its Rhapsody service. Why? ‘We bought because it was evident to us that they offered a superior consumer experience to any company out there, including MusicNet,’ says [RealNetworks spokesperson Lisa] Amore.”

“Rhapsody offers more than 350,000 tracks for on-demand listening, and more than 240,000 for burning to CD. It charges 79 cents per track, 20 cents lower than Apple’s fee. Plus, leveraging RealNetworks’ expertise in streaming audio, Rhapsody also gives users dozens of Internet radio stations as part of the service,” Angel writes. “In August, PC Magazine named Rhapsody its Editors’ Choice among music services, in a multiple review that also included iTunes. There’s one snag, however: To get the 79 cent downloads, users must also subscribe to the service for $9.95 a month. ‘For hard-core music enthusiasts, it’s a much better deal to pay 10 bucks a month, then listen to whatever you want for as many times as you want, than to have to pay a buck for every song,’ says Dan Sheeran, svp of marketing for RealNetworks. ‘But we absolutely believe there’s a market for an


  1. All I know is that I’ve looked at both services too and it’s obvious which one is best. I don’t need “PC Magazine” or any of the rest of them to tell me which is best in their opinion. Obviously they’re going with Rhapsody because it works on PCs and iTMS doesn’t as of yet. Let them pay their $10 per month for an inferior service, I really couldn’t care less what they think, nor do I honestly care if iTMS ever gets ported over to Windows…

  2. So what are the fair use policies for Rhapsody’s downloadable tracks? Are they available in a format compatible with the most popular portable music player – i.e. the iPod? What jukebox software does Rhapsody provide to integrate the music library with synching, burning and purchasing?

  3. What an incredibly retarded article. “Apple didn’t invent online music distribution.” BFD–Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile. Anyone know who Nicolas Cugnot is? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Sales are climing up to 400,000 a day?

    Let’s throw their own numbers back at them for a moment (using round numbers to keep the math simple)…

    The “industry analysts” claim that the current Mac market share is only 2.7 percent. Thus they claim that for every Mac sold there are approximately 30 Wintel machines sold (with Linux, etc. supposedly having a smaller market share than Mac, but supposedly not by a lot).

    400,000 divided by 30…. then times 7 for a weekly amount… this would give the equivalent rate (proportional to the supposed Mac market share) for iTMS … or about 93,333 songs a week.

    Apple just announced they have AVERAGED 500,000 songs a week since the beginning. Thus Apple’s iTMS has AVERAGED 5.37 times the market penetration of RealNetwork’s Rhapsody’s PEAK!

    Even if Apple’s iTMS has one fourth the penetration in the Wintel maket when iTMS for Windows comes out it will handily beat anything else out there.

    (It’s always fun to use the other guy’s numbers!!!)

  5. tthomcarl, hello?! Gay man in the room!! Is it really necessary to use name calling, “Queer bait”? Besides, such idiots are far from being bait for any of us queers. Please, grow up!

  6. We should expect crap like this. iTMS for Windows will hurt Real. Serves Real right for being the POS greedy b*stards they are. They are waaaaaaaaaaay behind with their support for the Mac. So far behind that I’d be surprised if they could pull their heads outta their asses for long enough to ever catch up. It’s too late. Ever use a Real product on a Mac? The word sh*t comes to mind. So Real’s only option from here is to bend perception and hope for the best. We’ll see how things pan out… Doesn’t look real good for Real!

  7. What a load of marketing fluff. Their service can’t touch ITMS except for sheer volume of songs – but you can’t burn as many CDs as you want, and you have to pay $10 a month whether you use the service or not!

    Talk about twisted logic to pretend they’re better.

    And what idiot would even begin to claim Apple created the first legal download service! But note, the coward didn’t deny the first successful legal download service, and Apple has that in spades.

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