RealNetworks Inc. is ending its 49 cent-per-song music download service but will keep the promotional prices in place for top 10 songs, the Internet media and software company said on Thursday.The top 10 list of songs that will remain at a discount of 49 cents per song will be compiled with Rolling Stone magazine, RealNetworks said.
The Seattle-based company, which provides software and services for sending and receiving audio and visual content over the Web, said it had sold three million songs in the three weeks since launching the promotion on Aug. 17.RealNetworks also reiterated that the increased cost of the program will widen its third quarter loss by 1 cent per share, but did not break out the likely costs of the campaign.
News source: Reuters The promotional campaign was launched after RealNetworks introduced technology called Harmony in July to make songs purchased from Real’s music store playable on Apple Computer Inc.’s AAPL.O iPod music players.
Harmony, which translates digital rights management software used with songs sold by Real to make them compatible with the iPod’s standard, rankled Apple, which said Real had “adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. joined the music download service last week with the debut of MSN Music and a new Windows Media Player.Apple, Microsoft and RealNetworks will now all offer the bulk of their songs at 99 cents each.RealNetworks vice president Dan Sheeran said that the promotion had drawn a significant number of customers to RealNetworks music download service, but declined to say how many songs have been downloaded since the service was introduced earlier this year. Apple says it has sold 125 million songs from its music store.
“The discount and the harmony promotion has enabled us to take a leading position in the download segment of the market,” Sheeran said.