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"Real" logo on a guitar.

The U's new agreement with RealNetworks will likely help decrease illegal music downloading.

(Legal) tunes at your fingertips: U brings Rhapsody internet jukebox service to

U brings Rhapsody internet jukebox service to its students

By Patty Mattern

Originally published on August 24, 2004; revised on August 31, 2004

University of Minnesota students will have access to a deeply discounted online music service this fall as part of a new pilot program with RealNetworks, Inc.

RealNetworks, the leading creator of digital media services and software, announced on August 24 that it has agreements with the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Berkeley, to offer its award-winning Rhapsody internet jukebox service to students at the two schools. It's the first contract that RealNetworks has signed with the higher education community.

"We're in the 21st century. Listening to music using computers is a habit for today's students. We wanted to help students gain access to a service where they can get their music for a very reasonable price," says Shih-Pau Yen, the U's deputy chief information officer.

The University of Minnesota agreement will give more than 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students access to Rhapsody at inexpensive rates. The service is available at the University's Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, and Crookston campuses. At Berkeley, 30,000 students will have access.

"We're in the 21st century. Listening to music using computers is a habit for today's students. We wanted to help students gain access to a service where they can get their music for a very reasonable price," says Shih-Pau Yen, deputy chief information officer in the University's Office of Information Technology.

By offering this service, Yen said, the University will likely help decrease illegal music downloading.

Rhapsody is the No. 1 internet jukebox service, offering unlimited access to a vast library of major and independent label music for less than $10 per month. Rhapsody's library currently offers more than 725,000 songs for on-demand streaming, with more than 650,000 songs available for purchase at the industry-leading price of 79 cents per song. In addition to burning full albums or custom- mix CDs, Rhapsody subscribers can build their own custom internet radio stations, listen to professionally programmed stations, and browse extensive music information and editorial recommendations.

"I think it's great," says University junior Sarah Thomes, "because so many students use online music anyway, so to have it come through the U is nice. And it's so cheap."

Students will be able to go through the University's password-protected e-commerce TechMart Web site to sign up for the service. TechMart has been selling computers and software to students for discounted prices since 2000.

RealNetworks will offer a free two-week trial to interested students. After the promotional period, the service will be available at the following rates: