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RealNetworks Updates RealJukebox

RealNetworks (http://www.realnetworks.com) made some major moves in themusic space last week as it announced separate deals with UniversalMusic Group and Sony. It also released an updated version of itsRealJukebox software.

The RealJukebox Update 1 has new features like CD-recording enabled byAdaptec (http://www.adaptec.com) and support for Iomega storage devices.RealJukebox's recording capability lets users create their own customaudio CDs without having to install a separate CD recorder. The CDs canthen be played back on any standard CD player. RealJukebox nowleapfrogs ahead of its main competitor MusicMatch, which doesn't yetoffer CD-recording.

Similarly with Iomega (http://www.iomega.com), users will be able todrag and drop files onto Iomega's Zip, Jaz or Clik! Drives. In addition,Iomega will distribute RealJukebox with each of their drives and withevery pack of Zip, Jaz and Clik! disks.

The Sony deal focuses on the secure distribution of music. RealNetworksRealJukebox will be enabled with Sony's electronic music distributiontechnologies and will support transfers to Sony's portable audioplayers. Upcoming version of the RealJukebox software will supportSony's ATRAC3 sound compression format, its "OpenMG" copyrightprotection technology, the Sony Memory Stick and portable players likethe "Memory Stick Walkman" and "VAIO Music Clip".

"It is very promising that RealNetworks, a prominent player in theelectronic music distribution arena, supports Sony's ATRAC3 and MemoryStick technologies. We believe this will put further impetus to thegrowth of the secure electronic content delivery over the Internet,"said Kunitake Ando, president and COO, Personal IT Network Company,Sony.

The deal with Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label,means that Universal's wide range of artists will be played usingRealNetworks' RealJukebox software. Also, the two companies will joinin online and offline digital music marketing activities, includingdistributing RealJukebox. RealJukebox will integrate aUniversal-supported, rights-protected digital music distribution format.It will use InterTrust's digital rights management (DRM) technology andNatWest Bank's Magex clearinghouse infrastructure. These new featureswill ship sometime this summer, says RealNetworks.

So far, the music industry seems to have been going its separate waysand not focusing on one SDMI-compliant solution. Just last week, Sonymade a separate deal with Liquid Audio to exchange technology and toenable Sony devices to play secure Liquid Audio songs.

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