RealNetworks is combining its RealPlayer and Music Services business units.

The newly-merged unit will be led by the company's current vice president of RealPlayer, Robert Acker.

The company says the decision follows "the most successful music promotion" in the company's history, when Real effectively gave away money as it sold three million tracks at less than their distribution cost.

Real CEO Rob Glaser said: "Over the next year we believe it's critical to adopt a holistic approach that tightly integrates our player and music businesses, especially as we begin developing a new version of Rhapsody that includes Harmony technology.

"Robert Acker brings a unique set of business and technology skills to the table, and we look forward to his skilled management of this important part of our business."

Sean Ryan, currently Real's vice president of music services, will leave the company this month to pursue other business opportunities.