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Best Buy, Real and SanDisk To Launch Music Service

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the by-your-powers-combined dept.

109

M00NIE writes "Best Buy has announced it's going to join forces with Real and SanDisk to launch a new online music store. The new technology apparently makes use of Sansa music players that support Rhapsody DNA subscriptions." From the article: "As far as technical details go, Best Buy's new service is going to be identical to Rhapsody's current offering of WMA-protected audio files with the additional features provided by Rhapsody DNA. Rhapsody DNA is based on Real's Helix DRM and gives users the ability to access their content across different types of devices, and provides what RealNetworks describes as an "end-to-end music experience" similar to the closed ecosystem approach that Apple uses and Microsoft will be using with the Zune."

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why? (1, Insightful)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326339)

do we need another music store?

Re:why? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326415)

yes, the more mutually exclusive DRM systems, the better.

Re:why? (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327163)

Their guns are pointed right at their own feet. It'll be fun to see what happens when they shoot :)

Re:why? (2, Insightful)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326793)

It's never about need... It's about money. It's probably not hard to put one together and maintain and they'll probably make a good amount of money. They also have quite a bit of leverage for promoting it along with anything they sell. "Buy an mp3 player from us and get 10 free song downloads!" The music store doesn't even have to be the main selling point when free songs might be the deciding factor on where to get your mp3 player.

Re:why? (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326993)

From their perspective, there's no reason not to. 1. Set up website selling 5 Mb files for a dollar 2. ??? 3. Profit!

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327239)

do we need another linux distro?

Re:why? (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328281)

If everyone had iPods, then no. I don't even know if this would be considered competition. This is just a service for those using their product.

This could be the Zune Killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16330657)

:)

Another DRM infected service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326345)


all these handcuffs to choose from, so much choice

Just what the world needs... (1, Funny)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326349)

Another way to not buy music! Brilliant! What next? Door to door music salesmen?

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326557)

Best not visit my home. Door to door salesmen are a threat to my personal and property safety and, according to Florida law, I can shoot them on sight.

Actually, maybe that's a good way to purge the music industry...

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326785)

Sooo...What's the housing prices like in Florida? I'll pack my guns and be right down!

Re:Just what the world needs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326827)

Shooting the poor guy going door to door attempting to make a living is pretty much the worst way to accomplish anything.

Re:Just what the world needs... (2, Funny)

cloudkiller (877302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326889)

no, the worst way to accomplish anything is to put a restrictive DRM on it and then market the crap out of it. shooting is a distant second.

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327019)

Shooting the poor guy going door to door attempting to make a living is pretty much the worst way to accomplish anything. . .

. . .other than ending door to door sales.

KFG

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327203)

Killing terrorists hasn't stopped terrorism. Killing door to door salesman won't stop them either. Have you ever talked to a salesman? Nothing stops them. They'll just pack a BV and keep knocking on doors.

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327433)

Killing terrorists hasn't stopped terrorism. Killing door to door salesman won't stop them either.

I overlooked the redundency factor.

KFG

Re:Just what the world needs... (1)

prod-you (940679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327941)

Suing pirates hasn't stopped piracy. I guess killing them might....

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326355)

Real and WMA? I think I'd rather just stab myself with an icepick. What the hell is wrong with these morons? More restictive DRM attached to EXTREMELY crappy players is going to somehow take the web by storm, despite all historical evidence to the contrary?

Too many idiots are buying into the Zune hype.

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326529)

Best Buy, Microsoft DRM and Real.

Could they possibly have come up with a better combo for me to rush out and ignore?

I'm giving Sansa the benefit of the doubt until I see how the whole Rhythmbox thing turns out, which means I ain't buyin' that yet either.

KFG

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326549)

"Best Buy, Microsoft DRM and Real. Could they possibly have come up with a better combo for me to rush out and ignore?"

I donno....maybe they can slap the Packard Bell name on the digital music players?

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326639)

....maybe they can slap the Packard Bell name on the digital music players?

Mum! Dad! Don't touch it. It's evil!

KFG

mod request (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326701)

This is a perfect example of the need for a +1 Time Bandits mod.

"Digital watches, day one!"

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326679)

I hear that Damark will be handling the print version of their catalog.

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2, Funny)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326741)

Best Buy, Microsoft DRM and Real.

Could they possibly have come up with a better combo for me to rush out and ignore?

Free coupons for the store when you subscribe to AOL, and with your first purchase you get a free Kevin Federline track.

Anyone else?

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326833)

Arrrrrrrrrgh! No! Pleeeeeeeeeease, Mr. Wizard, I want to go hoooooooome!

KFG

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2, Informative)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327105)

You mixed Rhythmbox with Rockbox: Rockbox the replacement firmware project, http://www.rockbox.org/ [rockbox.org] and Rhythmbox, the GNOME iTunes-like player: http://www.gnome.org/projects/rhythmbox/ [gnome.org]

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327287)

You mixed Rhythmbox with Rockbox

Indeed I did. I hate when that happens. Mea Culpa.

I shall take myself out and have me flogged with a wet Vorbis. If I don't know what he's done to deserve it; he will.

KFG

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327361)

I agree. C'mon SanDisk, did you have to jump into bed with Satan, Lucifer and Beelzebub all at the same time?

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326589)

What the hell is wrong with these morons?

After living in their cars on the streets of Wichita for five years, the Dot-Scammers are back in town - with new suits, new shoes, new business ideas, and a new attitude! (They've still got the same penchant for parties, though.)

I hope they crash and burn twice as violently this time. Maybe that'll learn 'em.

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326829)

Well, Microsoft isn't exactly a dotbomb phenomenon, but this whole Zune thing screams Gizmondo [wired.com] to me...Whole lot of hype on a feature rich platform, that will nonetheless fail to capture market share.

Okay, they're doing pretty well against Sony...Pried open a nice niche in the console market. But they're competing on their home turf there...Anyone want to argue that Windows doesn't dominate PC gaming?

But competing against Apple where the atributes you have to beat are Coolness, User Interface, and User Friendlyness? What the hell are they smoking? It's not going to happen, it's going to be like those damn Mac Commercials [apple.com] ...the dividing line between cool and crap is very clear.

WTF with Double Irony Points (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326693)

> Real and WMA? I think I'd rather just stab myself with an icepick. What the hell is wrong with these morons? More restictive DRM attached to EXTREMELY crappy players is going to somehow take the web by storm, despite all historical evidence to the contrary?

I agree. There's more to this story than meets the eye.

According to this article [dapreview.net] , the underlying hardware is based on the e200 series of players. That's interesting because the e200 [anythingbutipod.com] 's most distinguishing feature is its support for both MTP mode (yuck, Media Transfer Protocol means "works on XP only, and you can only transfer files by politely asking WMP10/11+ for permission") and UMS (woohoo, USB Mass Storage, it mounts like every other USB drive on every OS in the world) mode.

There's also been rumors of interest from Sandisk in working with the Rockbox [daniel.haxx.se] folks.

I speculate that Real is paying Sandisk a small fortune to place Real-branded (and Real-DRM-infected) firmware on the existing Sansa e200 hardware. The branding of the player "Sansa Rhapsody" doesn't stomp all over the "Sansa e2x0" series. Sandisk makes money off Real's licensing fees and the hardware even if the programme flops flat on its face. Sandisk, after all, is in the business of selling flash memory, not MP3 players - hence why the e200 is flash-based and has an expansion slot for MicroSD. If you're a flash manufacturer, high-capacity flash-based MP3 players are a great means of not just driving sales, but for boosting profit margins.

Re:WTF with Double Irony Points (3, Informative)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327023)

Quoth Tackhead: "MTP mode (yuck, Media Transfer Protocol means "works on XP only, and you can only transfer files by politely asking WMP10/11+ for permission") and UMS (woohoo, USB Mass Storage, it mounts like every other USB drive on every OS in the world) mode."

I have an Sansa e200 player. For what it's worth, MTP also works well with recent versions of Winamp, so WMP isn't obligatory. Yes, it's still on Windows, but it's a little less painful than being forced to use WMP. The WinAmp support for audio players seems quite nice.

UMS - a woohoo is indeed relevant - at least the player can be used on Linux too.

In all honesty, though, I'll be happy when the Rockbox firmware is viable.

mnb Re:WTF with Double Irony Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16330011)

In all honesty, though, I'll be happy when the Rockbox firmware is viable.

Rockbox on't be on the Sansa anytime soon. Sansa's idea of helping was to hold a little chat, send the developers a couple of players, and never be heard from again. Without chip documentation (which Sansa can't legally provide) the Rockbox port is dead until someone does a lot of reverse-engineering.
Sansa's right hand didn't know what its left hand was doing, and made promises they couldn't keep.

Re:WTF with Double Irony Points (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330783)

Well, consider that UMS is really only useful for geeks. Your average user will freak out if they actually have to look at files in anything other than the "Open" window for MS Word. While I hate things being proprietary and/or limiting to a single platform, it's FAR easier when it works correctly (with iTunes, almost always; with WMP, I'd wager not so much).

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326995)

There's no way i'm going to be installing anything made by Real Networks... The last time I installed it, it loaded itself on boot, and just ate up memory. And if I remember correctly, they also gave me some spyware too. Oh yeah, and not to mention that really shitty player... oh god..

Re:Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327193)

Let me guess..
You jumped on the iPod bandwagon and probably NEVER even used, seen, or know anything about the Sandisk players (or ANY player besides the ones from Apple) and have never used or seen Rhapsody either right? Quick, search Google for some negative reviews that you can cut and paste tidbits from to make it look like you actually have tried other products and services.

I have been using Rhapsody for years and I love it and I have zero complaints. I have no comment on the music to go service or the specific Sandisk players as I have not looked at them yet (and I am sure you have not either but you are still inclined to provide a detailed review of them for us).

With Rhapsody, I can pay $0.79 and burn my tracks to audio CD just like in iTMS, I can have several "authorized" computers if I wish to store music locally, or an unlimited amount of computers if I only use the "rented" music option. So for $9/month, I have about 2 million songs at my fingertips that I can access from any computer I can load the Rhapsody software on, I can burn just about any track to audio cd for an extra $0.79 per track, and if I choose, I can pay an extra $5/month and have access to those 2 million songs on wide range of portable players.
I know, you don't want to "rent" music. Fair enough, for me and my family, it makes sense considering the whole package with access costs less then a single cd purchase per month or 15 songs from iTMS.

My post goes against popular opinion on /. and therefore will be modded down.

are the files usable? (3, Interesting)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326375)

Are the helix files easily translated into more standard files that I could play on my existing hardware/players? There's no way I'm going to pay for crippled files that hardly play on anything.

Re:are the files usable? (1)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326473)

If you buy a song you have the right to back it up. Assuming you bought it for keeps, just use a direct recorder and save the file as whatever you want. If you bought it for say two weeks, then you are legally obligated to delete the backup when the original times out.

I'm really suprised how much effort is going into the DMA when it is so easily thwarted.

Re:are the files usable? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326505)

"I'm really suprised how much effort is going into the DMA when it is so easily thwarted."

At one point, the ear itself will be outlawed because of its DMCA-defiant qualities.

Re:are the files usable? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327011)

You might want to add the brain to that as well.

And the mouth and the hand that holds a pen or types on a keyboard, for communicating potentially subversive thoughts.

Re:are the files usable? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326489)

Originally Helix was meant to be kind of a meta-standard for DRM, allowing the same files to be available in different formats to be compatible with different devices.

As far as I know though, it only supports Real and WMA, which is to say Windows and Windows compatible players.

It's a big standards war...Everyone is trying to turn their DRM into the standard, and so no one wants their stuff to be interoperable with their competition. Microsoft and Apple are in the best position to push their stuff right now, and I can't help but think that the light restrictions of Apple's FairPlay DRM are going to beat out Microsoft's more restrictive "PlaysForShit" format.

Re:are the files usable? (1)

espressojim (224775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328857)

What confuses me is that the new MS player isn't compatable with PlaysForSure?

If so, that's really going to undermine the "PlaysForSure" brand...

Do you want the Audio Performance Plan with that? (5, Funny)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326385)

Knowing BestBuy, they will be heavily pitching (or shoving down your throat) extended warranties on their music, since your backups will probably be rendered useless by their DRM.

The BestBuy plan. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326449)

"Knowing BestBuy, they will be heavily pitching (or shoving down your throat) extended warranties on their music, since your backups will probably be rendered useless by their DRM."

And they'll advertise music players for $29.99, but when you get there you find out that it's really $159.99 with a $130 rebate, which you never receive after you mail in the rebate form (there is fine print that basically says they aren't obligated to pay you after all).

Re:The BestBuy plan. (1)

gwbennett (988163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328353)

When I went to get a USB2.0 PATA enclosure this weekend, the guy told me BB no longer uses any mail-in rebates. Ever. True/false?

speaking of extended warranties. . . (4, Funny)

93,000 (150453) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327681)

I bought a 512 meg sansa 230, or whatever the older model # blue one is. It was $40, and the dufus at the register gives me the service plan pitch. I say no. He adds "You do know that those are known to have battery issues, don't you?" I smiled and said, "Yes, but I'm willing to absorb that risk," then walked out laughing my ass off.

The player takes a friggin AAA.

I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16333183)

I know you're just trying to be funny, but you're an idiot. I happen to work at Best Buy, and the extended warranties (product service plans) we offer are only for expensive products (computer speakers, computers, tvs, appliances, etc). No fucking way they offered you a service plan on your 512mb flash drive.

Bull shit.

PS I work in customer service. Tons of shit comes in every_single_day. Less than half the people don't have our service plan, so they either get charged a lot, we tell them to deal with the manufacturer (manufacturer's warranty), or we tell them that they are fucked.

Re:Do you want the Audio Performance Plan with tha (2, Insightful)

iwsnet (946715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330763)

Won't this encourage people to buy music online instead of CDs in the store? I thought this was a big draw for them.

mo vi do (0, Troll)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326393)

mu'o je'e mu'o

This will bring new customers to iTunes Store/iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326409)


Funny how "news" like this are more likely to drive people deeper into iTunes Store/iPod. Does anyone trust Real anymore?

Real Player Memories (0)

Slant675 (168902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326411)

I must say, hearing that Raphsody developed their DRM from a Real technology surprised me. It does not change the fact that Real has too bad of a history to ever gain my trust again. "I know I just stabbed that guy with this knife, but really, I've changed. Now I'm cutting pies with it. Here, let me cut a pie for you!" Riiiiight. I'd go along with that.

Re:Real Player Memories (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327461)

From the launch of rhapsody until now, rhapsody has always used microsoft DRM. Why they are using home rolled DRM now I can't say, but I'd guess that it probably has at least as much to do with product differentiation and branding than any of the technical reasons mentioned. Plays for sure products are a very crowded space with little differentiation and no one making any money. But that's probably not the platform's fault.

Is this a joke? (2, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326427)

So let me get this straight-three minority players in the online music market think that by combining physical stores, codecs people despise, and mp3 players nobody buys will produce a winning service? Start shorting those stocks now, folks.

At the risk of repeating myself (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326611)

Or, rather, at the risk of repeating Moglen:

"You don't know what the world you're living in is going to be like but you can guess some things about it: there will be no music companies in it. Now if you leave them alone to buy more congressmen, in this very corrupt time of ours, they will survive for a little while longer but all of this talk is about the technicalities of the adjustment of the terms of their demise. When we want to start talking about something that matters, we would do better to begin from some basic social propositions. Everybody is connected to everybody else, all data that can be shared will be shared: get used to it."

http://ciaran.compsoc.com/texts/eben-moglen-dmca-a [compsoc.com] nd-you.html [compsoc.com]

I'm almost ready to get the big bucket of popcorn and just watch.

Re:At the risk of repeating myself (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330971)

Well said. I whish I had some mod points left.

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326645)

Yeah, my first thought when reading the headline was, could there be 3 companies that could join forces that I'd want less to do with? And then I thought, maybe.... CompUSA selling MP3 players based on..... LaCIE hard drives with music from.... Real. Nope, in this mad-lib I can't think of something worse than Real.

Anyone else have something better (worse)? _____________ selling MP3 players based on _____________ with Music from _____________.

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

ambivalentduck (1004092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327347)

Haliburton selling MP3 players based on punch cards with Music from bonzibuddy.

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327749)

I'll take a stab at it

  WalMart selling MP3 players based on SCO Unixware with Music from ClearChannel..

even then I just donno

I feel so special... (2, Funny)

doit3d (936293) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326431)

...I get twice the DRM for twice the price! What a deal!

Huge... (1, Redundant)

symie5 (1001116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326439)

This will probably be huge, IMO. Best Buy has a large customer base, many of whom are completely ignorant of the fact that they can buy songs individually online...they come into the store looking for a CD...something they can hold in their hands and place in a player)...and you know the BBY salespeople will rape them with a rehearsed speech about this service and why they should believe it IS the best way to purchase music. Many people will writhe in discomfort, squirming to get away from the pushy high school kid in the blue shirt, but Best Buy will succeed in seducing many others.

Re:Huge... (1)

Incongruity (70416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326587)

[warning, over-generalizations ahead] People are sheep and people are stupid [/end warning] however they're not that stupid.

This thing is going to drop like a rock. I give it 6 mos. to a year, tops.

Re:Huge... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326595)

I disagree. Best Buy has pull as a media outlet, but their online end is pure crap because they use it purely to drive business to their retail stores.

They're also in many ways customer-hostile. Return a dvd without a reciept, and get treated like a child molester, even if it's still got all the original best buy stickers on it. That sort of attitude fits right in with the DRM scheme that they're espousing in this online service.

Unless Microsoft craps a miracle and their clunky "available in white, black, and brown" player turns out to be amazing, this service is going to languish and fail like dozens of others.

the mr hankey music player. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326681)

"Unless Microsoft craps a miracle and their clunky "available in white, black, and brown" player turns out to be amazing, this service is going to languish and fail like dozens of others."

Hi-dee hi! But it wouldn't be so bad if the music didn't happen to be crap as well.

Re:Huge... (1)

symie5 (1001116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326915)

Best Buy has pull as a media outlet, but their online end is pure crap because they use it purely to drive business to their retail stores.
That's why I think it could potentially do well. They have a huge number of people in their stores that they can try and talk into using the service. Combine that with any traffic they get through normal internet customers and the service could (stress could, not will) do very well.

Re:Huge... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326705)

Many people will writhe in discomfort, squirming to get away from the pushy high school kid in the blue shirt, but Best Buy will succeed in seducing many others.

Probably so. After all, "no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Best Buy is legendary as a terrible place to shop; I've had plenty of nontechnical people tell me how miserable their shopping experiences were there; yet Best Buy seems to be doing just fine as a company despite this. Even the ill-fated DIVX venture by Circuit City managed to sell a fair number of players and movies, I'm sure. That same crowd of morons will probably buy into into this idiotic scheme, and when it goes belly-up because this crowd of morons wasn't quite big enough to overcome the costs of setting up and running this service, they'll be stuck with a bunch of DRMed music they can't play any more.

Re:Huge... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327121)

"no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Well, except for those Divx guys. That went over like the proverbial stainless steel Hindenburg.

Re:Huge... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327455)

I don't know about this. I believe the executives and managers who worked on DIVX got paid handsomely, and when it collapsed went to work on something else at another inflated salary even though they had just proven themselves incompetent. This always seems to happen in corporations: "The last project you headed up was a complete failure? That's ok, you're hired!!" The only people who probably actually lost money on that debacle were the investors (stockholders).

Re:Huge... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327705)

That is a good point. Must be the same crowd that thinks there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Re:Huge... (1)

nickhart (1009937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16330307)

the way it works is: you pay the price of a CD a month and you get to listen to all the music you want to (that is available in Rhapsody's library--one of the largest, I believe). You can listen to your music at your desk, in your living room or on the go. No, you don't own the file, but that's not the point. How much do you spend on individual tracks or CD's in a month? $15 or more? For $15 you get all you want on Rhapsody. That's the selling point and AFAIK, there is no other *portable* music subscription service that compares.

It's not for everyone. If you're too l33t for drm or into the ownership society thing and must own every single bit on your hard drive, look elsewhere. If you don't give a crap and just want to listen to a huge variety of music for cheap, then this is a great deal. You can always use other methods of acquiring music to augment the huge Rhapsody library.

So I will get to buy music (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326517)

that will ask me if I want a 2 year warranty extension on the files at only 40% on top of the actual purchase price and while I am playing the music it will......... streaming...... streaming...... have....... streaming....... some....... streaming..... problems.

Real + Bestbuy (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326523)

Watching all our actions and then asking us to mail in a rebate. What's not to love?

10101001 (0, Offtopic)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326551)

010100101010101111

Since it's Best Buy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326567)

are they going to demand that you open your shopping cart before exiting the site?

Enough! (1)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326601)

No more "Company X" starts music or video service "stories" please. These anouncements are a dime a dozen and unless there is actually something unique about the store the story is pointless. Wake me up when they actually put a dent into Apple's marketshare. Then you'd have a story.

$249 for 8GB, $.99 per song (1)

klang (27062) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326607)

Their competition is called 2nd generation iPod nano and a music store that has been running, for years and ties into a piece of software currently at version 7.

Cut off $100 of the player and $.49 of each song and you MIGHT be able to compete.

All of my favorite companies working together! (1)

ZipR (584654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326635)

It gets no better, friends! I wonder if Best Buy will offer rebates on songs?

Is it just me or (1)

therealking (223121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326745)

are we seeing the rebirth of DIVX dvds as ipods??

"Hey guys, APPLE is succesful with a closed ecosystem, maybe thats the magic mojo? Limiting customers choices! Brilliant!"

The only way to beat Apple is to make something thats more compelling then an ipod. If you want a music player are you going to buy an iPod or a device just like an iPod??

These companys need to raise the bar and come up with something compelling that Apple hasn't done already instead of trying to scamble for some of apples table scraps.

Re:Is it just me or (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327805)

But even if you make something more compelling than the ipod, it still doesn't help get all the ipod users over to your side because they can't bring their music that they bought on iTunes with them.

It's not the iPod that's compelling. (2)

jamrock (863246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328617)

"The only way to beat Apple is to make something thats more compelling then an ipod."

It's not the iPod or the iTunes Store that are compelling. It's iTunes itself. Until a competitor produces software that makes managing your music collection and getting it from your computer to your music player easier than iTunes does, there'll never be an "iPod killer", regardless of features, price, ease of use etc. The ease of use of iTunes made the Store possible, and it is that ease of use of the service, not the iPod, that is the real key to Apple's dominance in the legal download market. The point that most people are missing by focusing on the iPod is that Apple is already looking beyond it. Competitors who focus on the device, and not on the service ecosystem it represents, are fighting the wrong battle.

The iTunes Store is cluing in the average consumer (i.e., the multitudes who don't know or care that Slashdot exists) that buying digital content from the Web is an easy process, and when they're used to the idea, it won't matter to Apple if an "iPod killer" exists or not. They'll be too firmly entrenched in people's living rooms to give a damn, and a hell of a lot more people own TV's than own digital music players. With the prices of LCD TV's falling, how difficult would it be for Apple to stuff the iMac's guts and iTV functionality into a television and position it as THE Next Big Thing? Especially if Disney, through Jobs' connections, provides some marketing muscle? I can easily envision Apple sweetening the pot by offering free Disney classic on DVD or via iTunes Store exclusively with the purchase of a new "iHome" entertainment system.

How Does Real Make Money? (1)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326809)

No, seriously: How do they stay in business? I mean, obviously, the must be doing something right to earn Record revenue of $89.4 million, Net income of $38.9 million, and earnings per diluted share of $0.22 [realnetworks.com] .

But I don't know anyone who likes anything real does at all. I mean, they used to be a playering in streaming media, but we all know
...buffering...
...buffering...
...buffering...

how well that turned out: Microsoft and Apple ate their painfully bloated spyware's lunch.

So, market is Real a leader in? What do they make that everyone doesn't hate?

Crow T. Trollbot

Ford cars run only on Mobil gasoline, (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326843)

Exxon only works in Chevrolets, and Chrysler owners must seek out Citgo stations.

It's always been that way. That's what made American oil companies and American automakers so successful.

Consumers love being asked to guess which product to buy, knowing that there's only one chance in three they'll be able to use the product five years from now.

Re:Ford cars run only on Mobil gasoline, (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331923)

But... Exxon is Mobil

Like it even matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16326895)

As if stripping DRM was *hard* or something, and then converting to one's format of choice.

Sorry to say, but there's an elephant in this industry's room. Anyone with access to Google can find what they need to get around this stuff right quick.

yrotagilbO (1)

javaxjb (931766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16326901)

I for one welcome our new music underlords and there minions. The more fragmented the minor players become the more power Apple/iTunes has, and I trust Apple more than the RIAA (for the moment).

Best Buy, Real, Sandisk? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327115)

Seriously, it's like the Voltron of crap.

frackin' Best Buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16327481)

Best Buy is pretty annoying. They always ask for my phone #. I see them entering customer gender info when you check out. I bought a computer their awhile back and they wanted me to fill out my address and other info. If you're telling me they're going to start asking for my DNA now too, I can't say I'm that surprised.

Sansa makes some good stuff (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327489)

Sansa seems to have come on the scene from out of nowhere. They make some quality products.

I got tired of MP3 players, including an Ipod, being either unreliable or having design issues (Ipod doesn't work when you have gloves on or cold hands, Dell's players STINK, etc.)

So I got a supercheap Sansa player that works with my Yahoo subscription and it just works great. And their other devices are priced well and look good.

Please stow the DRM complaints. Those are the kind of complaints that stupid people make. If DRM is not for you, go buy your CDs from the store. End of story. Consumer choice, remember? And buying music is also a legal choice.

Re:Sansa makes some good stuff (1)

Yusaku Godai (546058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327879)

Please stow the DRM complaints. Those are the kind of complaints that stupid people make. If DRM is not for you, go buy your CDs from the store. End of story. Consumer choice, remember? And buying music is also a legal choice.

Personally, I do. It's just hard to imagine why anyone *would* pay for DRM'd music, at least for me. It's crazy--you're paying for music as if it's a service. What ever happened to the satisfaction of having an actual record (LP or CD or what have you) on the shelf that you can do what you damn well please with?

Every company I hate... (1)

KaiserSoze (154044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327519)

Wow, an unholy alliance by a bunch of companies I hate. Who do I give my personal info to in order to get in on the ground floor of this sure-to-be epic screwing over of consumers by The Triad?

For Once! (2, Insightful)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327523)

I am truely proud to be old school.

My mooosic player plays old fasioned MP3's and I pay $10 a month for a good news group subscription.

In Defense of Rhapsody (2, Informative)

GregMcD (639604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327561)

While I haven't used Rhapsody's new portable player, I have had experience with Rhapsody and I must say I thoroughly like it. I received a Sonos home audio system as a gift last winter,tried Rhapsody's free 30 day trial and haven't looked back. I can only assume that the portable music players will function in the same manner as Sonos (and I think that's a safe assumption based upon what I've read so far). If so, Rhapsody's subscription model has several benefits over a per track purchase model:

* More affordable -- $120 to $180 a year for virtually all the music you want (that's the equivalent of perhaps 20 CDs from iTunes)

* More affordable -- my time is too valuable to spend it ripping my extensive CD collection into MP3s or a lossless format and organizing it ... a couple of clicks and my existing music is "added" to my Rhapsody library as I want to listen to it

* More flexible -- I can add a artist's entire body of work to my Rhapsody library, listen to it several times to decide if I like it and delete it if I don't ... and it doesn't cost me anything beyond my basic monthly subscription fee

* Protection from "obsolescence" -- the current sampling rates used by iTunes, Rhapsody and the others aren't exactly CD quality, but they are good enough. If iTunes decides to improve the bit rate in 2 years, you'll likely have to buy the tracks all over again, but with Rhapsody they should just be there automatically

* Buy It, too -- if you want to buy a Rhapsody track and burn your own CD, you can do it just as you would with iTunes ... each track is generally only 89 cents.

I realize that the subscription model isn't right for everyone, but I think many of the comments here don't consider the positive factors. I view it similarly to a Sirius or XM monthly subscription. For a very modest price each month, I have access to all the music I could ever want and I certainly do a lot more exploration of new artists than I have ever done before. I also have the option of buying the tracks outright at any time just as with iTunes.

Finally, I've long been a critic of Real's software and their invasive installation tactics. I was therefore genuinely surprised at how clean the Rhapsody install was and the absence of the typical Real antics. Best of all, Rhapsody's integration with Sonos is simply elegant -- no PC involved at all -- direct access to the entire Rhapsody music library. channels and radio stations from the Sonos wireless remote. It has been a true pleasure.

Interesting confict of interest, problem for Zune (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16327893)

Best Buy sells iPods, I wonder how strongly they will promote iPods in the future.

That said I could see this working if the Sansa device is promoted purely as a service device that you pay for a month of song access, just like the phone. There are some people that would go for that and they could take over that niche.

Honestly this seems to have a much better chance of staying around than the Zune does. The Zune doesn't know what it is, is it a music player or an all you can eat browser? It will focus on neither and do badly at both, that along with BestBuy focusing on selling thier own player while Apple does what it does best mean a rough middle ground for Zune.

For all the haters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328315)

For geeks like me who sit at their computer all day and read slashdot, rhapsody is the best thing out there. They have a great catalog and some excellent discovery features. It sounds like they are using the money they won from their microsoft lawsuit to improve their music product which is great...

New releases a week before they come out in stores. Subscriptions to artists and generes so that you will automaticly get new content when you sync your device. Music downloads that work with your iPod. These are all cool features and significant steps for digital music. Just because they are logical steps and not technological leaps doesn't make them bad.

To all of you haters who havent even tried rhapsody, give it a shot. They are making a concerted effort to enhance the digital music experience.

Real Corporate Slogan (1)

haggie (957598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328569)

"Making Microsoft look competent by comparison..."

DefectiveByDesign - the (?) answer to DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16328717)

"DefectiveByDesign.org [defectivebydesign.org] is a broad-based anti-DRM campaign that is targeting Big Media, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. The campaign aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. DRM products have features built-in that restrict what jobs they can do. These products have been intentionally crippled from the users' perspective, and are therefore "defective by design". This campaign will identify these "defective" products, and target them for elimination. Our aim is the abolition of DRM as a social practice."

This might be interesting... (2, Insightful)

SchnauzerGuy (647948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16328781)

Let me start by saying that I am definitely an iPod guy. I have owned several iPods (3G, 4G, Photo, Video, Shuffle). I develop iPod compatible software and have been heavily involved in reverse engineering the iTunes database formats [ipodlinux.org] .

That said, the e200R and Rhapsody 4.0 actually appear to be a decent alternative to an iPod/iTMS, not to mention Microsoft's Zune. I know, I know - BestBuy and Real (along with Microsoft WMA) sound like a match made in hell, but the features posted on Wired [wired.com] actually sound interesting - especially "My Rhapsody Channel" (sort of like Pandora [pandora.com] for portable music players) and "Dynamic Playlists" (same idea, but featuring new releases).

Regardless of what you think of Real, you can't argue that they are doing some innovative things here (we'll have to see on how well it is executed). And while I haven't even touched a Sansa, they are the 2nd most popular MP3 player and do get decent reviews [engadget.com] .

I'm thinking that for people who are interested in renting music, as opposed to the $0.99 per-track iTunes model, this sounds a lot more compelling than any of the PlaysForSure alternatives. If they would just subsidize the player and sell it cheap ($99 or less) with a 1 or 2 year service commitment, I think they could do very well.

mod dowwN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16331253)

Damnit! I bought one of those! (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16331289)

I bought a Sansa, and I really like it. And now they are moving into a _second_ pile of DRM bull.

Well, I for one will continue to not sign up for any of these evil DRM sites and services. I do all my access in MSC mode (just plain USB disk installation mode) via linux.

What's funny is that the player has to be in the no-drm plain transfer mode to do automatic firmware updates.

Someone somewhere isn't thinking.

And no, I don't even _care_ what the details of Helix DNA are. The concept is flawed so the implementation is uninteresting.
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