Listen.com (www.listen.com) will jump
player ship, announcing a strategic minority investment from RealNetworks Inc.
to boost its Rhapsody digital-music-subscription service.
As part of the deal, San Francisco-based Listen.com will make RNI's "RealOne"
streaming-media-player technology its primary technology, setting aside the
Microsoft Corp. "Windows Media Player" it has used up until now.
RNI and Listen.com will also explore other future service collaborations.
"We're happy that RealNetworks, with its expertise in building cross-platform
technology and creating digital content-subscription services, is a strategic
investor in our business," Listen.com CEO Sean Ryan said.
"Today's investment gives us a broad range of resources that will help to
bring Rhapsody to an even wider consumer audience," he added.
The Rhapsody service gives subscribers access to a digital-music library with
more than 285,000 tracks and 20,000 albums from the "Big Five" record labels and
independent music outlets.
Subscribers can record tracks onto CDs, build their own Internet radio
stations, listen to broadcast-radio stations and access information on artists
and music reviews.