Real Tries To Push Rhapsody Test Drives
from the try-try-again dept
Real Networks has begun testing a web-based version of its Rhapsody subscription music service. Unlike the existing version, an application that runs only on Windows, the web version can be accessed by any kind of machine — but it also doesn’t support the downloading of songs to portable music players. There are plenty of existing web services that let users listen to streamed music for free, so why is Real bothering? Because it can sell ads, says CEO Rob Glaser, even if users only listen to the 25 free songs per month Rhapsody offers. Along with the new version of the service, Real will also let people link directly to particular songs and albums within it, so if a blogger is writing about a song, they could link to it within Rhapsody so readers could easily listen to it. Real CEO Rob Glaser says if people follow the links and don’t ever subscribe, that’s fine — “because the Internet advertising market is doing pretty well”. Sure, Real will be able to sell some ads, but the real point here is the upsell, trying to get more people to try Rhapsody, then upgrade to a paying plan. It’s been pretty questionable just how successful music subscription services have been, so obviously Real wants to tempt people to see what Rhapsody’s all about in hopes they’ll like what they see. The question that remains, though, is whether people just don’t yet understand the concept of music subscription services, or if they just don’t like it.