Rhapsody goes DRM-free

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Real Networks has removed digital rights management (DRM) software from its Rhapsody music service..

The company plans to offer MP3 files without the copy protection code through a new web-based music store. The Rhapsody MP3 Store, as it will be known, promises to offer some five million DRM-free songs from each of the four major labels.

The store will be Rhapsody's first venture to individual song and albums sales and a departure from the service's previous subscription model.

Users will be able to listen to full-song previews, rather than shortened clips, before purchasing a song. Real promised that most of the store's albums would cost US$9.99, while individual songs would cost US.99 cents.

Real also plans to partner with music channels VH1, MTV, and CMT to allow users to purchase songs from the Rhapsody store through the networks' respective websites. The company will also expand its wireless music service.

Real said that the move was part of a larger campaign known as 'Music Without Limits' designed to expand Rhapsody's reach.

"Until now, legal digital music has suffered from severe limitations on where consumers could buy it and how they could use it," said Real Networks chairman and chief executive Rob Glaser.

"Music Without Limits fixes those problems and will make digital music easier and more valuable for consumers."

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