Another week, another RealNetworks/Apple story: this time streaming leader and iPod “hacker” is offering cut price tunes whilst promoting freedom of choice for music consumers.
In order to entice some of iTune’s customers to the RealOne service, Real are embarking on a huge marketing campaign that will concentrate on their new iPod compatibility, sneakily coupled with a sale.
Tracks from the Real music store will cost US$0.49 (€0.40) for a limited period, with albums half price at US$4.99 (€4). This double whammy might just tempt users away from iTunes – until Apple break Harmony’s iPod compatibility in the next update, that is.
Enticing users away from their favourite online music stores is difficult as it’s not as simple as getting punters to cross the road from Virgin to HMV – software has to be changed, tracks are incompatible and players won’t play all formats. You have to get your customers early before and make them build a library that they’ll be reluctant to abandon.
Whilst a sale will generate new interest in RealNetworks’ products, many users will try a wait and see approach as Apple have made it clear that they’re not happy about Harmony’s approach and intend to scupper it at the earliest opportunity.
We’re not quite sure if it’s a spoof or not, but RealNetworks have also launched a blog-style site featuring the “Rock on Rob!” weekly Q&A with Rob Glaser (I’m embarrassed just typing this in). The site features several anti-Apple postings from around the net, and even a petition. The site is not conspiciously branded by RealNetworks, but we see what they’re trying to achieve.