RealNetworks have unveiled Harmony – a DRM translation tool that now makes it possible to transfer and play Real music downloads to Apple’s iPod. This new development means that Real’s music service is compatible with virtually every music player in the market.
Harmony is obviously Real’s answer to the resounding silence they met with after Rob Glaser contacted Steve Jobs with about Real and Apple working together.
Apple’s response is sure to be interesting as it means that iPod owners now have a choice of digital music online stores to fill their players from, and so they might not be entirely happy.
Real’s developers worked out how to make their player FairPlay-compatible purely by analysing publicly available information. This could be seen by some against the DMCA which expressly forbids reverse engineering and tampering with content protection systems.
This shouldn’t cause a problem with the legislation, however: Real are not defeating the FairPlay copy protection system, rather they are wrapping their own files in the FairPlay DRM.
Although potentially bad news for Apple, Harmony is great news for digital music fans – they can now transfer music from their various music stores to any music devices they may have. Not only does Harmony work with the iPod, but users can now perform the same trick with their Windows Media Player hardware too.
Harmony is built in to RealPlayer 10.5, which is available for download now.