Monday, August 23, 2004

"THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL": Following a deluge of contempt and sniping at their sudden discovery of "freedom of choice for music", Richard Wolpert, Real's chief strategy officer, has gone on the defensive-offensive. He's not happy to be reminded of Real's earlier legal action against Streambox:

Wolpert said the Streambox case is unrelated to the Harmony software case because Streambox stripped the DRM from Real's product and Harmony doesn't alter Apple's DRM, it only operates with it.

Actually, Wolpert, you're trying to have your MP3 and AAC it as well - the Freedom of Choice For Music site wasn't presenting itself as being anything to do with Digital Rights Management - because, of course, no consumers actually like the whole idea of being told what they can and can't do with stuff they've paid for; FOCFM was supposedly about allowing people to play their music on the products they choose. Which is exactly what Streambox was designed to do. If you want to re-word Freedom of Choice along the lines of "Don't let Apple break your iPod by not letting you play other downloads on it, as long as you have permission of the copyright holder and it doesn't harm the DRM built into either of the products you should be permitted to play anything" - but somehow, I think the site would wind up looking even less cool than it does right now.

Real seem happy that their campaign is working, mind:

Download sales in the Real music store have exceeded the company's expectations, he said. Rhapsody has had its highest peak in active users and new users last week. Over 100,000 people have checked out the new website.

How many people are believed to download music in the US? Seven million, wasn't it? So that's less than one in seventy, even if we assume that nobody who went to the Rhapsody site came from outside the US. (And we went there, so thats minus one already.) Hardly a glowing start. Not that Real will be that upset - it's likely it's losing cash on each download, so, really, the fewer the better would be the corporate message.

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