RealNetworks has expanded its online music distribution agreement with cable Internet service provider Comcast. The move extends RealNetworks' Rhapsody RadioPlus service to customers of Comcast's high

RealNetworks has expanded its online music distribution agreement with cable Internet service provider Comcast. The move extends RealNetworks' Rhapsody RadioPlus service to customers of Comcast's high-speed Internet service.

Previously, Comcast customers could access a free, limited trial of the Rhapsody service. The new agreement allows broadband subscribers to access 90 genre-specific and 30 artist-specific "stations" that can be customized to users' tastes.

RealNetworks offers RadioPlus for $4.95 a month. Comcast has not revealed details on how it will price the service, but its customers are expected to benefit from a discounted monthly fee.

"We obviously think it's exciting for Comcast users because they can gain access to a benefit that normally costs $60 a year at a very attractive price," says Jeff Schrock, VP of business development for RealNetworks' consumer division.

RealNetworks hopes the deal will hook broadband Internet users into the digital music space, and that they will eventually upgrade to the full $9.95 per month service, which adds on-demand full-track download capabilities.

"We want those users to upgrade, but also we're happy for them to use the service because it's a great way for users to explore digital music."

Schrock hints that the relationship with RealNetworks could expand to offer Comcast customers unique features and functionalities not available to other Rhaposdy users.

RealNetworks has teamed with several broadband Internet service providers to date, including Cablevision, Time Warner's RoadRunner, Verizon and Sprint. While the Comcast deal is not meant to be exclusive, Schrock says it is the largest agreement the company has with any single provider.

"Comcast is by far the largest broadband Internet service provider, offering the most services," he says.