Rhapsody drops DRM, gives away 100,000 free albums

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Seattle (WA) – Real Networks relaunched its Rhapsody music store and follows the general trend of leaving DRM copy protection behind. But Rhapsody has a few other new features as well – such as a full-length preview of songs as well as iTunes and cellphone compatibility.           
                        

Rhapsody is the next one in line to take shot at iTunes’ market dominance, taking away some of the inconveniences that have been plaguing music download sites in the past. DRM restrictions are now also gone at Rhapsody, while the price of music downloads will remain at 99 cents per song and $9.99 for “most” albums, Real Networks said.

The MP3 store, which offers a variety of about five million songs, also provides full-length previews of songs instead of the usual 30-second samples we are used to today. Downloaded songs will work within Rhapsody, RealPlayer or iTunes – which means they can be transferred onto an iPod without any hassle as well. There is also a $15 per month cellphone plan for Verizon customers with “unlimited syncing” and access to all five million songs. DRM-free songs are also offered for 99 cents for a PC as well as a $1.99 2-track option that includes one over-the-air and a second master copy for the PC.

Rhapsody is promoting its new service with a giveaway of 100,000 albums for the first 100,000 customers to sign up for the new service.

It appears that, step-by-step, we are getting closer to a music download service that is actually acceptable to consumers and more attractive than the traditional CD purchase in a store. Rhapsody is without any doubt more attractive than before, but have to say that we are a bit surprised that the company did not make the jump an introduced a flat-fee-based, all-you-can-eat music download option for the PC.