I just got off the phone with a rep at Real.com‘s Rhapsody music service. What an interesting conversation! First off, here’s what I told the rep we (and probably other libraries) wanted in a digital music service:
- digital music for library patrons
- ability to listen in the library
- ability to listen at home, using the library’s authentication
- ability to download to a portable device
- We need all this to be an annual library system subscription, rather than a normal, individual subscription
The Rhapsody rep (very nice, knowledgeable person) had guessed we’d want something along those lines, and stated that they “probably haven’t considered” that type of model. He then shared all about record labels being extremely picky, who gets paid when, etc… all the usual record-labels-get-all-the-money types of statements. Which I’m certain is all very true indeed.
Right now, Rhapsody isn’t set up to do what my library wants. Rhapsody did offer a “bulk download license” type of model – similar to what they do with corporations (think McDonalds or Pepsi) for promotions. But what library wants to deal with multiple licenses for potentially EVERY library patron, handing out those licenses, etc? Probably not too many.
But – here’s the good thing. The rep DID say ours was an interesting concept, he’s open to further ideas, and he’d talk to the “product development” people. That’s something, anyway.