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Rhapsody now plays on Linux and Mac machines
Dec. 06, 2005

RealNetworks' new Rhapsody Web-based streaming music service went live on Monday, expanding its formerly Windows-only US music subscription service to include Linux and Macintosh users. Users running any flavor of Linux are now able to log into the service and download the Firefox plug-in necessary to stream the music data, spokeswoman Ronda Scott told

"We have done extensive testing on Linspire 5.0, Fedora Core 3.0, and SUSE 9.3, and we know that the plug-in works well on them," Scott added. "We just haven't done a lot of [official] testing on other distributions, but we know it will work on many of them. We just can't guarantee it will work with all distributions."

Scott said that RealNetworks believes is the first major music-streaming site available to Linux users.

"There are other sites that stream music, but it's really hard to do it as well as we can, because of our large library," Scott said.

Streaming only, no downloads

However, unlike Windows users, Mac and Linux subscribers will not be able to buy songs or transfer music to a portable player from the Rhapsody service. They are currently restricted to streaming music only through their browsers, and will remain so for the near future.

"This is because you need a client to download the music," Scott said. "We, of course, had to focus on the Windows market first when we developed the client (called Rhapsody Music Jukebox). We have no metric as far as determining if or when we will develop a similar client for Mac and Linux users.

"It has to make sense for the company, and we need to see an organic interest from the (Mac and Linux) communities involved."

Pricing based on tiered service offers unlimited streaming access to its music catalogue of 1.4 million tracks for a monthly fee of $9.95. For $14.95, users can obtain the Rhapsody To Go package, which allows users the ability to buy and download songs for 89 cents apiece, burn CDs with the music, and transfer them to portable devices.'s free version allows 25 streamed tracks per month and access to 25 Internet radio stations, in exchange for registering with the service.

For Mac users, at least, there seems little or no incentive to switch from iTunes, a free service from Apple, which offers music downloads (for 99 cents apiece) and Internet radio.

RealNetworks also offers RealPlayer 10 for Linux, based on the open source Helix multimedia player, which is now available for free download. RealPlayer 10 is currently the second-most popular desktop media player, behind Windows Media Player, according to IDC.

Access to the Rhapsody Web Service v 0.1 here.

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