RealNetworks tunes up its radio services

13 Dec 2005

An evolution of the company's RadioPass, featuring services such as music downloads, ringtones and user-generated content

RealNetworks has launched RealMusic: a music and video Internet broadcast service.

RealMusic is an evolution of the company's RadioPass, and features other services such as music downloads, ringtones and a range of user-generated content, but the main thrust of the service is radio.

More than 300 'channels' are available, with music 'mixed' by Real's global team of music editors - although in our experience of the service, 'chosen' would be the more appropriate verb.

There is a range of free stations to choose from, and for £8.50 a month you get access to the premium stations. Subscribers can run a search on an artist of their choice and find a range of radio stations either dedicated to the artist or to the genre in which the music sits. Video results are also available, but with only 4,000 in the catalogue, finding them can be hit and miss (note iTunes currently only has 3,000 videos available).

Users can save favourite stations and personalise their RealMusic pages with their preferred content. The service also features charts of music and video based on user rating.

The download service prices individual tracks at 99p - more than the iTunes 79p standard - and albums at £7.99 a pop, which is more reasonable. But there are no tools for synchronising your downloads with mp3 players and other devices.

TonePass, giving access to the ringtone service, costs £4.99 a month.

'Music lovers are looking for new ways to create, discover and share music anywhere, anytime,' said Gabriel Levy, Head of Music, RealNetworks Europe. 'RealMusic is the first comprehensive music service to give users access to radio, music videos, downloads and ringtones - plus the ability to play and buy original user-generated music.'

In comparison, MusicMatch offers a similar solution through its MusicMatch Radio Gold service for $4.95 a month, or $3.95 a month for three-month periods - massively cheaper than Real's service.

You can try the RealMusic service out for yourself at realmusic.com. RealPlayer is also needed.

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