There was consolidation in the Internet-content space, as RealNetworks Inc.
announced a deal to buy Listen.com (www.listen.com) for $36 million.
Listen.com provides Internet radio-station service tiers and downloads to
consumers on a subscription basis.
The company has struck licensing deals for its Rhapsody music service with a
host of broadband Internet-service providers including Road Runner, Charter
Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Optimum Online, Verizon
Communications' Verizon Online and RCN Corp.
In February, RNI made a "strategic investment" in Listen.com.
RNI's "SuperPass" service counts more than 800,000 subscribers and also
includes an Internet-radio service. RNI is also an owner of music-downloading
service MusicNet (www.musicnet.com).
RNI said Listen.com CEO Sean Ryan would become vice president of music
services in the RealOne Services division, reporting to Merrill Brown, senior VP
of the division.
"The opportunity for us to add Listen.com's Rhapsody, the best
music-subscription service, into our family of services was just too compelling
to pass up," RNI CEO Rob Glaser said in a prepared statement.
He added that he hopes Rhapsody and RealOne's music services will accelerate
the adoption of legitimate music services.