Digital-Music Service Growth Continues

Everyone wants to get into the suddenly popular pay-for-digital-music craze. Cable giant Comcast has announced plans to distribute RealNetworks' RHAPSODY music service. Comcast will promote the services with an aggressive marketing campaign that includes TV commercials. This distribution agreement joins an already crowded field of digital-music services. Other entries include the newly launched MusicNow online store, cobranded with retail giant Best Buy, that will sell song downloads for 99 cents per song and offer unlimited music streams for $9.95 per month. Recently relaunched Napster announced a deal with Pennsylvania State University to give students discounted access to the music service. Napster 2.0, which sells digital music, might not be off to the great start that owner Roxio hoped. Apple Computer announced that its iTunes Music Store outsold Napster 2.0 five to one during Napster 2.0's first week of operation. Apple reported sales of 1.5 million songs from its store, whereas Napster 2.0 posted sales of 300,000 songs. Clearly, the era of legal digital music is upon us. Let the best consumer offering win.

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