Two Subscription Services Debut This Week
RealNetworks and Listen.com have launched their respective digital music subscription services, Billboard Bulletin reports. Real bows its version of the MusicNet service, RealOne Music, today (Dec. 4)RealNetworks and Listen.com have launched their respective digital music subscription services, Billboard Bulletin reports. Real bows its version of the MusicNet service, RealOne Music, today (Dec. 4) with roughly 100,000 tracks from content partners Warner Music Group, EMI Recorded Music, BMG Entertainment, and Zomba Group. Real will also debut its integrated jukebox/media player/Web browser, the RealOne Player.
Consumers will be offered two subscription tiers. A music-only package of 100 for-rent downloads and 100 on-demand streams costs $9.95 per month. A premium package, "RealOne Gold," grants access to 125 downloads and 125 streams, as well as streamed video content from the likes of ABC, CBS, CNN, E! Networks, and Fox Sports, for $19.95 per month. All RealOne Music subscribers also receive access to 48 advertising-free radio channels, powered by RadioAMP. The downloads cannot be transferred to portable devices or burned to CDs.
Real is the first of the MusicNet licensees to launch the subscription service. AOL Music has indicated that it intends to launch its service before the end of the year. Napster, MusicNet's other distribution partner, isn't expected to launch its version until at least next year.
Meanwhile, Listen.com yesterday launched Rhapsody, its on-demand streaming service. Consumers will be offered three monthly packages: "Naxos Classical" for $5.95, featuring material from classical label Naxos; "Sampler" for $5.95, featuring music from Listen's other content partners; and "Sampler Plus" for $7.95, with all of Listen's available content. Listen has licensing deals with 37 independent labels, including Ark 21 Records, Eroica Classical Recordings, and GNP Crescendo Records. The service also offers more than 50 commercial-free online radio stations.
In other new media news, a Dutch court has ordered the KaZaA music service to cease operations by Dec. 13. Amsterdam-based KaZaA has emerged as one of the most popular free file-sharing services since the shutdown of Napster.
In a verdict passed down Thursday at District Court in Amsterdam, KaZaA was told it had "failed to demonstrate sufficiently that it cannot take measures to stop infringement of copyrights." If KaZaA fails to comply with the order, it faces a minimum daily penalty of Nfl 100,000 ($40,649). The case, brought by Dutch collecting society BUMA-STEMRA, follows an action filed by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.