HITS Daily Double
"Since we first launched Rhapsody, our subscribers have asked for greater flexibility to burn their favorite music."
——Sean Ryan, Listen.com


Sub Service Inks CD-Burning Deals with UMG, WMG, Preps Provocatively Named "2.0"
Rhapsody, the online music subscription service developed by Listen.com, has closed new, non-exclusive licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to make tracks from the two majors available for burning to CD.

Subscribers to Rhapsody’s top-tier "All Access" plan will be able to burn thousands of songs—part of the trove of music licensed for streaming to the service by all majors and quite a few independents—to CD-R on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, coughing up 99 cents per track. Whether or not consumers used to burning whatever the hell they want for free will spring for such an arrangement is, of course, the $64,000 question.

The newly burnable material joins a buttload of music from indies like TVT, Sanctuary, Alligator and many others.

The announcement comes just days before the planned launch of Rhapsody 2.0, which will also offer users access to their accounts from any Internet-connected location.

Among the affiliates offering co-branded versions of the service are Lycos, DIRECTV Broadband, Time Warner Cable’s Roadrunner broadband service, Sony Musiclub, Verizon Online, Downbeat and Charter Communications.

But enough information—let’s get to the canned, self-congratulatory quotes!

"Universal Music Group is committed to giving consumers more choice in how they access UMG’s catalog of music," trumpeted UMG eLabs Prexy Larry Kenswil. "Rhapsody gives music fans a legitimate and engaging outlet for enjoying and exploring the music they love, while respecting artists’ rights. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go test a giant laser weapon that can take out Grokster users from here to Poughkeepsie."

"We’re pleased to expand our relationship with Listen.com to provide consumers with more choices in how they access and purchase music from our world-class artists and labels," gushed WMG EVP Strategic Planning and Biz Dev Paul Vidich. "Rhapsody offers fans a unique way to experience their favorite music, and Warner music Group is delighted to be working with Listen to give its subscribers the flexibility they expect from an online music service. By the way, AOLTW’s third-quarter results are also now burnable to CD."

"Since we first launched Rhapsody, our subscribers have asked for greater flexibility to burn their favorite music," mused Listen.com CEO Sean Ryan. "Today’s agreements help us address that demand by enabling subscribers to burn tens of thousands of tracks. It’s an important step forward in giving our subscribers more freedoms to enjoy digital music away from their PC. Though why anyone would want to do that is beyond me."

"Our goal with Rhapsody is to make online music as flexible, fast and fun as possible," chortled Listen VP of Product Management Dave Williams, whose name is synonymous with fun. "Offering CD burning is a big step in that direction."