RealNetworks And Apple Get Rhapsodic

Rhapsody, from RealNetworks, is a subscription service that allows users to stream music to their computers over the Web and, until yesterday, had been unavailable as an app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. Downloading the app from RealNetworks is free and brings with it a seven-day trial period. At the end of that week, users must pay $14.99 per month if they want to continue using the service.

The Rhapsody catalog consists of more than eight million songs and the service has more than 750,000 subscribers, according to RealNetworks. Users can create play lists using that library and, if they really enjoy a song, pay to download it.

It is somewhat surprising that Apple is allowing RealNetworks' Rhapsody into the App Store because it would appear to be a competitor to iTunes itself, something Cupertino generally wouldn't tolerate. But it seems that somewhere along the line, Apple softened its stance -- at least as it pertains to Rhapsody.

Part of the change might come from the fact that RealNetworks built in the option for users to purchase songs they like on Rhapsody from the iTunes store. According to The New York Times, RealNetworks will share some of the revenue that is generated from iTunes sales through the Rhapsody app.

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While it may not be a lot of money, it's possible that once RealNetworks decided to cut Apple in on the potential revenue, the stance from Cupertino changed.