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"Rhapsody gives broadband providers, such as DIRECTV Broadband, a compelling value-added music service they can use to enrich their offering and keep subscribers engaged."
——Sean Ryan, Listen.com

RHAPSODY’S BROADBAND STROKES, PRESSPLAY’S SMORGASBORD

Listen.com Service Links With DirectTV and Roadrunner, Uni-Sony Venture Is Said to Plan Flat-Fee Version
Listen.com’s online service Rhapsody, which has licensed music from all of the Big Five labels and an array of indies, has announced a pact with DIRECTV Broadband—which will give the Hughes Electronics-owned company’s DSL subscribers access to Rhapsody.

And while Listen hasn’t yet made public its relationship with Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner broadband service, a Reuters report on 7/31 let the cat out of the bag. Rhapsody is already being promoted on the Road Runner site. Even so, both parties are being hush-hush about the deal for the time being.

DIRECTV Broadband subscribers will have free access to Rhapsody throughout August, after which they’ll be way jonesing and unable to turn down the attractive three-tiered pricing plan. Either that, or they’ll download KaZaA.

Vague hints are being dropped about "bundled product offers" in the future, though for the time being, subscribers who become Rhapsody users will get a separate bill for the service.

"We’re excited that DIRECTV Broadband has recognized Rhapsody as the ideal digital music service for customers who want to take full advantage of their high-speed connection," declared Listen CEO Sean Ryan. "Rhapsody gives broadband providers, such as DIRECTV Broadband, a compelling value-added music service they can use to enrich their offering and keep subscribers engaged. Of course, a lot of free porn doesn’t hurt, either."

Digital-media pundits (who really liven up any gathering) have long insisted that paid-entertainment services like Rhapsody would stand a far better chance of success when connected directly to the "pipe" that is the broadband provider.

Speaking of being connected directly to the pipe, we’re feeling awfully dizzy.

In other digital-music news, Pressplay—the joint venture between Vivendi Universal and Sony—is planning to offer unlimited music for a flat annual fee, according to a CNET report.

According to the article, Pressplay will allow subscribers to download or stream as much music as they want for $179.40 per year (which corresponds to the current monthly tab of $14.95). CNET further reports that users will be able to burn 120 songs per year to CD, and that other new features are forthcoming.

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