Rhapsody is bringing its market-leading subscription music service to the TiVo digital video recorder. The two companies joined forces to create a TiVO-customized version of the Rhapsody service that uses the TiVo remote for navigation and its "thumbs up/thumbs down" preference buttons to mark favorite songs.

The deal allows any Rhapsody subscriber with a broadband-connected TiVO to stream music directly from the Rhapsody service through any TV or home entertainment system connected to the device without the need to have a PC running in the background.

According to Rhapsody senior VP of music products Rob Williams, the TiVo partnership is the first of several expected deals that will add Rhapsody support to a host of new Internet-connected home entertainment devices over the course of the next year. The company is actively pursuing a strategy of making Rhapsody available on more devices than just the PC.

"It moves us out beyond the computer music aficionados," he says "There's certainly a limited appeal to a service that is PC focused."

In addition to bringing more value to existing Rhapsody subscribers -- who won't have to pay any extra fees to access their account from their TiVo -- the deal also represents a significant marketing channel for potential new subscribers, Williams adds. There are about 1.5 million TiVo devices in the market today that can support the Rhapsody service.

TiVo's VP of product marketing Jim Denney says the company will support the launch with promotional messages to its subscribers via its e-mail newsletter and via direct messages sent to users' devices.

More on the Rhapsody/TiVo deal and what it means for subscription music services coming in the next issue of Billboard.

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