The Mercury News online has published an article comparing RealPlayer Music Store and Appleis iTunes Music Store. According to the writer Mike Landberg, the quality of the RealPlayer Music Store follows a close second behind Appleis iTMS, and he cites such reasons as upgrade pressures and the lack of support currently for burning directly to CD. From the article:
RealNetworksi new RealPlayer Music Store gets my vote as the second-best place to legally buy songs online -- and thatis not a criticism.
Apple Computeris iTunes Music Store is so elegantly crafted that itis hard to imagine anyone will do better in the near future.
Launched Jan. 7, the RealPlayer Music Store follows a formula thatis now beginning to look familiar: Individual songs are 99 cents, most albums are $9.99, you can burn the downloads to CD and you can transfer them to a few portable players.
I tried RealPlayer on the same computer Iive used for reviewing BuyMusic.com, iTunes and Napster. Compatibility was seamless and instant; I only had to click on songs from the other services to listen with RealPlayer. If I wanted to have a party with music coming from my computer, I could easily put together a long play list mixing songs from any of the services Iive used.
The one thing you canit do yet is burn tracks from other services to CD. RealNetworks says itis working on a software upgrade to make that happen with WMA files, but wonit be able to burn iTunes files because Apple wonit give RealNetworks the necessary license.
I have a few gripes, although nothing huge. RealNetworks has a richly deserved reputation for constantly pressuring users to upgrade to premium services. The company has ratcheted back on the hard sell with the newest version of RealPlayer, but still makes it hard to find the free version amid numerous plugs for its RealOne Super Pass monthly service.
You can read the full article at Mercury News Web site.