Real Aims to Make Internet Music Platform

Real Networks Inc. Monday released RealJukebox and RealSystem MP, two new products that allow Internet users to play, record and organize digital music.

RealSystem MP is a digital music architecture that enables a wide range of Internet-enabled hardware devices to work together to play, organize and acquire music from the Internet. Real said the initiative has the backing of RCA, Intel and more than 60 other companies.

Real said RealSystem MP gives consumers a convenient way to create a manage a personal music library on their PCs while enjoying the highest quality audio possible at the same day. For content providers, Real said the system contains built-in protection that will stop the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted materials. Copyright protection has been a key issue with digital music distribution.

Hardware and software developers will be able to integrate RealSystem MP into their products. Some of the companies that have already signed on to the platform include a2b music, which uses technology developed by AT&T Corp., and a number of computer and peripheral makers.

“We developed RealSystem MP to take advantage of RealSystem G2’s open and extensible standards-based architecture enabling a rich foundation upon which third-party applications can be built,” said Phil Barrett, Real’s senior vice president of media technologies.

The application supports a number of secure music delivery systems including IBM’s EMMS, AT&T’s a2b and Liquid Audio. It also supports the MP3, WAV and G2 formats.

Real also launched RealJukebox, the first product built around RealSystem MP. It allows consumers to record, play and manage personal music collections. The company said more than 100 partners, including artists, e-commerce companies, hardware vendors, music portals and search engines, are supporting the system.

Real Chairman and Chief Executive Rob Glaser, called RealJukebox the biggest breakthrough in music listening since Sony’s Walkman.

“Just as RealAudio and RealVideo revolutionized Internet broadcasting, so will RealJukebox forever change the way music is delivered to and enjoyed by consumers. RealJukebox provides consumers with the easiest way to play and manage music downloaded from the Internet and recorded music from personal CD collections,” he said.

Real said the product will record CDs three to five times faster than normal playback speed. The product also ties into a number of Internet music search engines, making it easy for listeners to locate the music they want. The product can also manage large music collections.

RealJukebox is compatible with MP3 players, including Diamond Multimedia’s Rio and Creative Labs’ Nomad. A beta version of the product is available here. Real said the product will remain free after beta testing is complete and RealJukebox will be bundled with future versions of the RealPlayer.

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