The Rolling Stones Offer Music Downloads, At Last, But Not Yet With iTMS

Steve Jobs canit get no satisfaction, at least not initially. The Rolling Stones, one of the great holdouts in the online music distribution business, have announced an exclusive deal with RealNetworksi Rhapsody service.

Rhapsody is Realis subscription service (it requires a monthly subscription fee) that allows for streaming of Rhapsodyis entire online catalog of more than 200,000 songs. If you want to download or burn one of those songs, you have to pay an additional fee of US$.79 per track (see our full coverage on Rhapsodyis download service for more information). The exclusivity deal with The Rolling Stones lasts through the end of August, just under two weeks.

At the end of that time, MSNBC reports that the Rolling Stones will be available through other online music distribution services, including Appleis iTMS. As of press time, spokespersons from Apple were unavailable for comment, or to confirm the story.

Interestingly, not all of The Stonesi catalog will be available for download. While everything recorded and released after 1971 will be available for streaming and download, everything recorded prior to that year will only be available for streaming. This is because neo-Luddite Alan Klein, whose record label ABKCO owns all of the Stoneis material from this earlier era, has not embraced the Internet or music downloads. It is unknown how this will effect any distribution deals with Apple.

Of note is MSNBCis coverage of the news, which suggested that The Stonesi decision to go with Real was a slight against Apple CEO Steve Jobs. From MSNBC:

The deal emphasizes the value of a subscription service like Rhapsody, which uses streaming technology to allow customers to listen to all they want, as much as they want -- as long as they keep subscribing. Itis also a dis of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who personally wooed Jagger to get first crack at the Stones on his iTunes service. But since Rhapsody has only a two-week exclusive, EMI will soon license its catalog to Apple and others. As for the early tunes, you canit always get want you want -- unless you steal it.

Thereis more on the deal in the full article at MSNBC, as well as articles from Rolling Stone Magazine and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.