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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Real sells 3m tracks at a loss
The Creative Zen music player (Image: Creative)
Tunes from Real's shop only play on a few devices
Media software firm RealNetworks says it sold more than three million tracks thanks to an aggressive three-week price promotion in the US.

The company halved the cost of tracks to 49 cents in mid-August to try to tempt consumers away from Apple's iTunes music store.

The discount offer has ended, but Real said it would continue to offer the top 10 tracks at the lower price.

But the promotion has come at a price, eating into the company's finances.

Cents and music

Apple dominates the market for online music through its iTunes online store, accounting for about 70% of paid-for music downloads.

It has sold more than 125 million tracks since its inception in April 2003.

In common with most online music sellers in the US, Apple typically sells individual songs for 99 cents.

Real halved the price of its tunes to 49 cents on 17 August to coincide with the public launch of the firm's latest software, Harmony, which can download music directly to Apple's iPod music player.

The gamble appears to have paid off, with Real saying it sold more than three million tracks from its US online store over the three-week promotion.

Although the offer has ended, Real said it would continue to offer 10 of the most popular songs on its website at the cheaper price, in a promotion with music magazine Rolling Stone.

"The discount and the Harmony promotion has enabled us to take a leading position in the download segment of the market," said RealNetworks vice president Dan Sheeran.

Real has admitted that it lost money on the promotion, saying it will widen its third quarter loss by one cent per share.

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