Rob Glaser, founder of RealNetworks stepped up his attack on Apple’s “closed” iPod music system with a new promotion aimed squarely at iPod owners. In what appears to be a desperate move, RealNetworks says it will offer every song in the RealPlayer® Music Store for just 49-cents, and most, but not all albums will be on sale for a limited time for $4.99.
Apple’s iTunes Music Store sells singles for 99-cents, and most albums for $9.99.
Recently, RealNetworks announced “Harmony”, a software method that allows music from the RealPlayer® Music Store to play on Apple’s iPod. Real claims to support more than 100 secure portable media devices, including all four generations of the iPod and iPod mini.
Apple Computer claims to have approximately 70-percent of the legal online music download market which includes Real, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Napster, and many others. Apple’s iPod is the most popular portable music device. Until Real’s Harmony, music from online music stores other than iTunes would not play on the iPod without a conversion process.
Our online, multi-question reader poll gives you a chance to speak out, for or against Apple, for or against Real’s efforts to shake iPod users from the iTunes Music Store.
Industry observers call Real’s move one of obvious desperation and question how long the music sale can last given Real’s precarious financial position. While Apple Computer has cash reserves of nearly $5-billion US, RealNetworks continues to lose money quarter after quarter, and expects losses to mount because of the Freedom of Choice Campaign.
Additional detail regarding Real’s announcement is available online; Click Here.
Insiders contacted by Mac360 say this latest move, an obvious escalation in the battle of words between Real’s Rob Glaser and Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, is designed to cause unrest among iPod’s apparently contented users. Apple claims the iTunes Music Store has over 1,000,000 songs available for purchase, more than any other US online music store.
RealNetworks has been unable to gain substantive market share against the combination of iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store, and has resorted to drastic tactics in the shadow of increasingly dismal financial results.
49-cents for each online single and $4.99 for most albums is an attractive price differential, even for loyal iPod and iTunes Music Store users.
RealNetworks plans an extensive promotion and advertising blitz and has launched an online web log called Freedom Of Music Choice. To view the site, Click Here. The company bills itself as “the leading creator of digital media services and software” in the industry, despite a dwindling market share for the RealPlayer, and steady financial losses due to an inability to capture additional users and market share.
The Freedom of Music Choice web site is clearly aimed at iPod users with headlines such as “Don’t Let Apple Break Your iPod!”, and “Stand Up For Your Right To Freedom of Music Choice.” The web site is sponsored by RealNetworks.
What’s your take on this battle? Do you care? Have you visited the RealNetworks online music store? Have you purchased music from Real? Do you use the RealPlayer for audio or music playback? Is Apple providing iPod users with a “closed” system with the iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store?
Or, is Apple’s music solution so good none of the others matter anyway?
Here’s your chance to sound off on the matter with a Quadruple Online Survey. 4 questions:
1) Who’s right in the online music store battle?
2) Have you tried the RealMusic store?
3) Is the iPod, iTunes Music Store a “closed system”?
4) Do you think RealNetworks will stay in business?
To get started all you have to do is Click Here.
To see the results on how the voting is going, just Click Here.
Best Feedback of the Day award (so far…) goes to Alan with his innovative approach:
This will be interesting. As always, Comments and Feedback are welcome.