updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu October 5, 2006
Best Buy Music Service
Most retailers prefer to remain agnostic to the music players they sell; even Best Buy's in-house Insignia brand is regularly given equal footing compared to other models. The company announced on Thursday that it would abandon this practice with a new partnership between itself, RealNetworks, and Sansa manufacturer SanDisk. The deal will see the three companies launching a new online music store that takes advantage of Sansa music players equipped with support for Real's Rhapsody DNA subscription method, which automatically downloads recommended music as a listener's music habits develop over time. More after the jump.
All three companies are hoping that the integration of a retail store, online store, and music player will mimic Apple, whose iPod players the company will still carry. "The customer expects everything to work together," says Jennifer Schaidler, VP of music for Best Buy. To that end, Best Buy has said that it will offer incentives to shoppers who buy the compatible Sansa e200R-series players from their retail outlets: new owners will get a free two-month subscription to the Best Buy online store, letting them download an unlimited number of songs during that time. Regular subscriptions will cost $15 per month. The new online music service will launch alongside the players on October 15th.