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Real Adds Portable Downloads, MP3 Rebate

RealNetworks launched its first portable subscription service, dubbed Rhapsody-To-Go, at $14.99 per month, and teamed with iRiver to offer a $100 rebate on iRiver’s H-10 hard-disk-drive (HDD) headphone stereo with the purchase of a one-year subscription.

The rebate will be available to consumers who purchase the H-10 through Real’s Rhapsody site and through retailers, including Amazon and brick-and-mortar dealers. The Real rebate brings the device’s price down to $149 from a current everyday $249, including $30 iRiver rebate. On May 8, iRiver will drop its rebate but will also drop the H-10’s everyday price to $249.

The Real-iRiver partnership takes MP3-player subsidies to a higher level. Napster offers rebates of $45 to $55 on a trio of HDD portables with the purchase of a three-month subscription to its portable download service, called Napster-To-Go.

In another effort to pursue closer relationships with CE manufacturers, RealNetworks said it first-ever music-management software will be available as the default music manager with Olympus m:Robe HDD portables and San Disk’s first HDD portable, all of which play Rhapsody-To-Go downloads. Besides organizing a computer’s music files, the Real software will direct users to Real’s streaming and download sites, including Rhapsody-To-Go and the Real Music Store download site.

In other announcements, RealNetworks:

  • integrated its RealPlayer Music Store, which offers non-portable a la carte downloads, into its RealRhapsody interactive streaming service, which also lets users burn a streamed song to CD in Redbook Audio format.
  • launched tethered downloads from its Music Store, enabling users to store a downloaded song on up to three PCs or laptops.
  • enabled its protected AAC-based Music Store downloads to be transcoded for playback on Photo iPods. Real songs can already be transcoded for playback on other iPods and on WMA-format portables.