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RealTime IT News

Pressplay Goes Live

Sony Music- and Vivendi Music-backed pressplay Wednesday became the latest music subscription service to open its Web site to the public. The business basically signals the official start of another Microsoft Corp. versus AOL Time Warner -RealNetworks Inc. rivalry as the software giant has chosen to use pressplay to gain Windows Media Player users as paying customers.

The service will be available to the first several thousand consumers through MSN Music, Roxio Inc. and Yahoo!, and will eventually be offered through MP3.com and other affiliates. As it previously revealed, pressplay is offering differentiation from the others in its "portability through CD-burning," (via Roxio's burning technology) but just like everyone else, it offers streaming and downloading.

Package deals for New York-based pressplay come in four faces and include a Basic Plan for $9.95, which offers 300 streams and 30 downloads; a Silver Plan at $14.95, with 500 streams, 50 downloads, 10 burns; a Gold Plan for $19.95, with 750 streams, 75 downloads, 15 burns; and lastly, a Platinum Plan for $24.95, with 1000 streams, 100 downloads, and 20 burns. A disc jockey's dream?

"For people passionate about music, today marks a new way to experience the world's most popular music that is easy-to-use, reliable, and secure," said pressplay President and CEO Andy Schuon. "We have worked hard to create a compelling online music experience, with unique programming, a broad selection of the world's most popular music and the freedom of portability."

And, unlike the others, pressplay will offer consumers a 14-day free trial of 200 streams and 20 downloads -- free. Also, to get the ball rolling, the firm will offer the "silver" plan at the "basic" plan price of $9.95 for the first 90 days of the member's paid subscription.

Again, what the public is seeing here is a company that is trying to differentiate itself by offering a little more value to its customers than its rivals, such as RealNetworks' RealOne and Listen.com's Rhapsody.

Portability is a major step toward this, but it is still unclear how it will shake out in the long run.

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