Looks like Apple is coming up against stiff music-service competition these days. First there was RealNetworks, and now Microsoft is getting into the act. It sounds like its service will look very similar to the popular iTunes online music service, with one big difference: Music files will be saved to your devices in the WMA format, allowing for a broader distribution to various handhelds. Microsoft stands to gain some increased revenue in the form of increased advertising dollars on its MSN Website. They also hope to spread the appeal of the Windows Media file format.
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Competition is a good thing. Real, for a limited time, is offering songs for half the price of most digital music services. While most offer digital downloads for $0.99 USD per song (or $9.99 USD per album), Real has priced their music at $0.49 per song and $4.99 per album. On top of that, the company is using new software technology, Harmony, that will allow songs downloaded from their music store to be playable on all Apple iPods. As of now, Apple leads all other digital music services, with more than 100 million downloads sold to date.
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The colleges that have signed up with the Napster University Program this far include Cornell University, George Washington University, Middlebury College in Vermont, University of Miami, University of Southern California, Wright State University, Penn State University, and University of Rochester.
We knew it would be just a short period of time between the announcement of the contest, and the 100 Millionth download. The 100,000,000th (that's a lot of zero's!) song, "Somersault (Dangermouse remix)" by Zero7 was purchased by Kevin Britten, 20, of Hays, Kansas on Sunday, July 11, according to Apple.
So what does this mean? For Apple, it cements their status as the premier online music store as they have reached a place that their competition may take years to reach. For Kevin Britten, it means a 40GB iPod, 10,000 free songs from iTunes, his own Celebrity Playlist, and a 17" Powerbook. Nice.
Chances are, if you have been downloading your music legally, you have been doing so through an American-based company's program or website. Apple iTunes, Wal-Mart Music Downloads, MusicMatch, and Napster are names we hear often when it comes to getting your digital music online. The great thing about these music stores is that you get instant gratification - pay for your music and download it within seconds...but now there is an even cheaper way. Click for more.