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"More than 75% of people who try RHAPSODY become subscribers."
——Dave Williams, Listen.com
TAKING ON THE HIGH COST
OF BURNING
Listen.com’s Rhapsody and Partner Lycos Lower CD-Burning Rates for Subscribers
When the file-sharing demon first raised its hideous, grimacing head, the record industry did what any forward-looking capitalist enterprise would do: retreated into a sweaty realm of terror and denial.

Eventually, authorized online services were launched, with severe limitations on what could be done with the tracks. Ultimately, all these services began to allow subscribers to burn tracks to CD and export them to portable players.

One big problem, however, has been price point. While the common wisdom reminds us that “there’s no competing with free,” many in the online space have argued that bringing down the cost of authorized song-burning would entice more consumers.

Listen.com’s Rhapsody service and online partner Lycos have heeded this advice—for a six-week promotional period, at least. The online players will let subscribers burn an unlimited number of tracks for 49 cents apiece (rather than the usual 99 cents) from now until March 31.

I know what you’re saying: “Big deal, it still isn’t free.” Or perhaps, “There still isn’t enough music to choose from.” Or maybe even, “Why don’t people drive cars into your lobby more often?”

You may have a point there. But the fact is, for this limited period, subscribers can burn an album’s worth of tracks for around six bucks.

Lycos and Listen will also offer a “free access week” on Feb. 13-21 for folks who’d like to kick the service’s tires; no credit card number will be required. Those who commit to a subscription during this period will get a further 50% knocked off their sub fee for the first three months. These folks are makin’ deals! They’re crazy, I tells ya!

"This special offer will enable a wider audience of Lycos Music users to explore their musical passions and enjoy more music through RHAPSODY," said Katie Rae, VP product marketing for the U.S. portal of Terra Lycos. "The number of subscribers who have signed up for Lycos Rhapsody has far exceeded our expectations in their willingness to pay for high quality, value-added services like RHAPSODY.  This promotion makes it even more convenient—and more affordable—for our users to try."

"More than 75% of people who try RHAPSODY become subscribers, so we know that our users are very satisfied with the service," added Listen VP of Product Management Dave Williams. "Offering 49-cent CD burning lets us reward these existing subscribers, and provides a great incentive for new people to try RHAPSODY. Lycos Music is a great place for this kind of promotion because Lycos helps us quickly reach a large audience of passionate music fans."

Rhapsody, which unofficially numbers its subscribers in the “tens of thousands,” features music from all Big Five labels and numerous indies. The regular cost is $9.95 per month, including downloading, playlist creation, burning and customizable as well as pre-programmed radio channels.

Meanwhile, motorists who wish to plow into the HITS lobby will be able to do so for 50% of the usual price for a limited time.

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