RealNetworks Launches Rhapsody 4.0 & Teams To Deliver First Rhapsody-Optimized MP3 Players
SanDisk Sansa e200R Rhapsody MP3 Players Now Available to Consumers
SEATTLE — October 05, 2006 — RealNetworks® (NASDAQ: RNWK), the global leader in digital media delivery, today announced the release of Rhapsody® 4.0, an enhanced version of its critically acclaimed Rhapsody digital music service. Rhapsody 4.0 breaks new ground in delivering a deeply personalized digital music experience that combines great new music discovery features, easy drag-and-drop, integrated support for groundbreaking Rhapsody-optimized MP3 players, a fresh interface, and unparalleled digital music player support. The new version of Rhapsody is available starting today via www.rhapsody.com.
The launch coincides with the retail availability of the first line of Rhapsody DNA-based MP3 players from SanDisk Corporation. The Sansa e200R Rhapsody players, available in capacities ranging from 2GB1 to 8GB, come equipped with over 30 hours of pre-loaded music that consumers can play right out of the box, including songs from hundreds of the world’s most popular artists from EMI Music, SONYBMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. The devices are immediately available for pre-ordering directly from RealNetworks via http://www.rhapsody.com with shipment expected by the middle of October, and starting next week at Best Buy stores across the United States and on www.bestbuy.com. Best Buy is also launching the Best Buy Digital Music Store powered by Rhapsody 4.0 (see separate release).
“Thanks to Rhapsody and the Sansa e200R Rhapsody player, consumers can take the celestial jukebox with them everywhere they go,” said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks. “We’re delighted to partner with SanDisk to create great new end-to-end experiences that make it easier and more fun than ever before for consumers to discover and enjoy more music they love.”
“We’re proud to join Real and Best Buy in giving consumers a new way to discover more music via Rhapsody and seamlessly enjoy it on the go,” said Eli Harari, president and chief executive officer, SanDisk.
The new Rhapsody enables consumers to access their own personalized celestial jukebox through the PC, portable MP3 players, and home devices based on the Rhapsody DNA platform. In addition to the new Sansa e200r Rhapsody player, the new Sonos 2.0 Digital Music System also supports Rhapsody DNA to deliver the celestial jukebox throughout the home. (More information about Rhapsody DNA is available at www.rhapsody.com/webservices).
The new version of Rhapsody offers a variety of new features that build on the service’s core strengths, including:
Dynamic Playlists automatically track the top artists, albums and songs in subscribers’ favorite genres as well as follow what’s on heavy rotation with Rhapsody’s in-house team of music experts. Dynamic playlists can be added to the Sansa e200R Rhapsody through a simple drag-and-drop interface, and will automatically update whenever the player connects to the PC.
Personalization through My Rhapsody
The new My Rhapsody enables consumers to easily find or create custom Rhapsody Channels and playlists, or recommended albums and artists based on their listening history and genre preferences.
With one click, Rhapsody can create a single music library that includes Rhapsody tracks, locally-stored music files, as well as entire libraries from other music services users may be using, including purchased songs and custom playlists, making it simple to manage large libraries of digital music.
Rhapsody Premieres is a new series that gives subscribers access to hot new albums a week before they’re available in stores. On Tuesdays, Rhapsody will debut new music from artists spanning from venerable rocker Rod Stewart and indie rock favorite M. Ward to classic artists like Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole.
All of the innovative features of the new Rhapsody platform will also be available via the Best Buy Digital Music Store, which will also offer bonus content and exclusive material not available anywhere else.
Rhapsody is the market’s leading unlimited access music service. With Rhapsody, fans can download or stream an unlimited amount of music from a vast, 2.5 million-song library of major and independent label music for a flat monthly fee. In addition, Rhapsody subscribers can purchase favorite songs and albums for 89 cents per song. Downloads purchased from Rhapsody can be transferred to virtually any portable music player, including Apple’s iPod line. Rhapsody offers two tiers of premium service: Rhapsody To Go ($14.99 per month) and Rhapsody Unlimited ($9.99 per month).
RealNetworks pioneered the unlimited access music service model, and currently leads the market for those services with more than 1.625 million subscribers for Rhapsody and its other premium music services. Since launching in 2001, Rhapsody has received multiple industry awards and honors. In 2006, PC World honored Rhapsody with a 2006 World Class Award in its annual list of “100 Best Products,” the latest in a string of honors for Rhapsody. In 2005, Rhapsody received several honors, including PC World’s Best Buy Award, PC Magazine’s Best of 2005 Award for “Best Music-Streaming Service,” and a designation as “Best Online Music Subscription Service” in CNET’s list of Top 100 Products for 2005.
Real announced the news at a press conference in New York. Video footage of that event will be available for on-demand playback after 12:30pm ET/9:30am PT today via play.rbn.com/?url=rn/events/open/demand/pr061005.rm&proto=rtsp Consumers will require RealPlayer® to watch the event, which can be downloaded for free at www.real.com.
RealNetworks, Inc. is the leading creator of digital media services and software including Rhapsody®, RealPlayer® 10, and casual PC and mobile games. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks’ products and services to create and deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks’ consumer software at http://www.real.com. RealNetworks’ systems and corporate information is located at http://www.realnetworks.com.
1 1-gigabyte (GB) equals 1 billion bytes.
SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Sansa is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation. SD and microSD are trademarks. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder (s). RealNetworks, Rhapsody are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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