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Some Real Competition for iTunes

Techstination feature for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Some Real competition for iTunes. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today’s technology. Apple’s iTunes store is selling more music than anyone else these days….and has surpassed the five billion download mark. Rhapsody America…a joint venture between RealNetworks and MTV….is hoping it can win some of that business away by opening the door to its service to iPod and iPhone owners. It is eliminating digital rights restrictions on songs purchased through Rhapsody….and says Anu Kirk, general manager of product management…that includes songs sold wirelessly through a partnership with Verizon …

“Verizon uses what they call dual delivery. Which means that when you buy a track, you get one version of a song at a low bit rate, transmitted over the air directly to your phone. And previously, the second copy that they made available for you when you connected your phone to your computer, used a custom application that they had developed and it delivered a DRM track. Now, with purchasing tracks over the air on Verizon, when you hook your phone up, you connect it to VCast Rhapsody… and you get a high bit rate 256k MP3 file.”

Free of digital rights restrictions…meaning you can burn CDs, transfer it to your iPod or other MP3 player…or listen on your PC. In the meantime, Rhapsody America will allow buyers to listen to full length tracks before buying…another edge over iTunes. It will also continue to sell its streaming media subscription services….which, by the way, still uses digital rights management…because the songs are, in effect, rented, not purchased. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I’m Fred Fishkin.