Realnetworks Listens In Rhapsody

The company that brought you the software to play video on your home computer is getting into the music business.

RealNetworks Inc. has announced the completion of its acquisition of Listen.com, creator of the award-winning Rhapsody digital music service. The service delivered more than 12.4 million on-demand songs to its subscribers in July, a 13% increase over June, according to figures supplied by the company.

With this acquisition, RealNetworks now owns two of the Internet’s best subscription content services, RealOne SuperPass, which offers leading news, sports and entertainment programming, and Rhapsody. RealNetworks has more than one million paid subscribers for its content services.

“By joining with RealNetworks we’re poised to take our business to the next level,” says Sean Ryan, RealNetwork’s VP of music services and former CEO of Listen.com. “In addition to world class technology, RealNetworks’ broad Internet distribution fits perfectly with our existing distribution partners such as broadband operators.”

Rhapsody offers consumers unlimited, all-you-can-download access to a library of major and independent label music with more than 350,000 tracks available for on-demand listening and more than 240,000 songs available for burning to a CD. At only 79-cents for any track, Rhapsody currently offers subscribers the lowest per-burn price available to U.S. consumers through any of the new generation of digital music services. In addition to burning full albums or custom mix CDs, Rhapsody subscribers can build their own custom Internet radio stations, listen to professionally programmed stations, and browse extensive music information and editorial recommendations. The service is available as RealOne Rhapsody via RealNetworks, with a 14-day free trial, for $9.95 a month at www.real.com.