The RealOne digital-music subscription service, which downloads copyright-protected music and allows videos to be watched over the Internet, has launched.
RealNetworks offers the service, which is backed by MusicNet - an independent consortium made up of Warner, Bertelsmann and EMI Group. But with legitimacy comes a price. There are monthly fees, video and audio files are charged separately, and there are restrictions on the number of files downloadable, their duration and what can be done with them.
Downloaded music is not owned. Shelling out $19.95 per month allows users to download and store up to 125 audio tracks that expire after 30 days. Some tracks can be carried over into the next 30-day period, but that lowers the number of new ones that can be downloaded. This music can't be transferred to a portable digital-music player.
A separate $9.95 monthly RealOne Membership gives access to premium video content. RealOne has forged agreements with 20 content providers, including ABCNEWS.com, CBS Survivor Insider, CNN, E Networks, and FoxSports.com.
Downloading the RealOne Player multimedia player is necessary to access the service, a rival to Apple's QuickTime multimedia standard.