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Best Buy, Real and SanDisk To Launch Music Service 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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Best Buy, Real and SanDisk To Launch Music Service

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  • why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Hennell ( 1005107 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:29PM (#16326339) Homepage
    do we need another music store?
  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <.Satanicpuppy. .at.> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:31PM (#16326355) Journal
    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.
  • Is this a joke? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:36PM (#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.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:43PM (#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.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:55PM (#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 [], the underlying hardware is based on the e200 series of players. That's interesting because the e200 []'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 [] 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:why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chroot_james ( 833654 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:00PM (#16326793) Homepage
    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.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:04PM (#16326843) Homepage
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:25PM (#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.
  • For Once! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @04:47PM (#16327523) Journal
    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.

  • by SchnauzerGuy ( 647948 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:10PM (#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 [].

    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 [] actually sound interesting - especially "My Rhapsody Channel" (sort of like Pandora [] 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 [].

    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.
  • by iwsnet ( 946715 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @08:52PM (#16330763) Homepage
    Won't this encourage people to buy music online instead of CDs in the store? I thought this was a big draw for them.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.