Feeds

Real and Napster catch portalitis

Online music providers go all fat and horrible

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

What a dismal future looms ahead for music lovers, if online subscription services turn out anything like promised.

Real Networks already has a pay-per-view model - and its own Digital Rights Management framework - in place. And in Napster, the industry has a 'brand' name everyone's heard of, which likewise is gearing itself for a subscription-based model.

Yesterday Real Networks announced that it would roll its clients into one application - combining Player and Jukebox - in a textbook exercise in gigantism it calls RealOne. Player has been getting ever more bloated since its debut - although by using it in compact mode, the incessant nagging, channels and 'picks' can effectively be backgrounded. And Jukebox, although it does a reasonable job of encoding, has been a huge, overweight infant since birth.

(Full disclosure: we were a paying customer of Jukebox until bugs and bloat prompted us to move our MP3s to the BeOS machine, where they remain).

Combining the two applications, says Real, will allow people to watch video while they browse the net, while they choose an audio file to play. Which for some reason, they suppose we can't do already.

This depressing vision is confirmed by a rummage through the Real DevZone, which prominently features tutorials on how to create an ad for RealOne.

It looks like the ads will be unmissable.

Real already has a viable business model, charging content providers for the Real server software, but RealOne gives it an opportunity to pick its viewers too, and there's little anyone can do about it short of changing platforms, or persuading the content providers to play the big three streaming media firms (Real, Apple and Microsoft) off against each other. Real is suffering a case of severe portalitis.

Yesterday, too, Napster announced that it was paying $26m to settle claims with authors and their music publishers that its erstwhile free-for-all file sharing service infringed copyright. The individual suits against record companies remain unsettled, however, and Napster gave no launch date for the commencement of the long-awaited subscription service. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.