By Richard Menta 9/18/06
The iTunes-iPod pairing of proprietary DRM somewhat succeeds in trapping consumers into buying a new iPod. I say somewhat, because recent research shows that most iPod users bypass iTunes as a source of content. Still, it is the only thing that appears to be working and so others are rushing to copy the model. The latest company is Real Networks who announced a partnership with SanDisk to produce the Sansa Rhapsody, a new proprietary player/DRM scheme that also locks users to one player and one service.
Rhapsody-friendly Sansas will be available soon for the entire e200 line including SanDisk's new 8GB e280. RealNetworks calls the new platform Rhapsody DNA and to start everyone off the company will fill each new Sansa with 32 hours of major label tunes to lock...er..start buyers off.
The 8GB Sansa e280 is available on Amazon
Ultimately, this discord of compatibility will only further confuse the marketplace and diminish the record industry's visions of interoperability among consumer appliances. As we have said before the MP3 format is the only universal format and as frustrated music lovers find that out the hard way it will only spur further increases in file sharing activity. Ultimately, that undermines this effort by SanDisk and Real as well as Microsoft's new Zune concept.
Other MP3 stories:
Some Thoughts on Zune
iPod: Handicapping the 6th Generation
iPod Has Only 8% of Market in Taiwan