RealNetworks Burns Quick Rhapsody Ad

LOS ANGELES RealNetworks will respond to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the MGM Studios v. Grokster case with opportunistic full-page ads tomorrow, reminding users of its legal Rhapsody service, the company said.

The ads will run in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and USA Today, said Jackie Lang, vice president of marketing at the Seattle-based company. The ad was conceived in anticipation of the ruling, Lang said.

Artwork is a gavel formed out of hundreds of names of music acts. The headline: “The decision is in. The best choice for free, legal digital music is Rhapsody.”

Copy connects the ad to the court decision, which sided with music companies’ copyrights, and beckons readers to visit the firm’s Web site. “It’s the only place where you can get free and legal access to over 1,000,000 songs, and share music with your friends,” the copy states. The tagline: “No hassles, no lawsuits.”

Though it normally works with Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in Seattle, the ad was mostly generated in-house, said Jessica Friedberg, senior marketing manager. “We’re a little more hands-on than other companies,” she said. “We worked over the weekend to get it up and going. It’s a clear, concise message on the legality of the service that also speaks to the relevancy of the music, the vast array of artists.”

Lang said the Rhapsody site offers an alternative to illegal downloading and file sharing in that RealNetwork’s Rhapsody 25 offers 25 free songs per month and provides for peer-to-peer sharing of playlists as a “sampler” to move users toward the paid service. “None of our competitors offer anything like this,” she said.

Lang said the ads would run in the chosen media outlets to speak to the industry as well as Rhapsody’s current customer base, which is not as young as the stereotypical music ripper and tends to be “older than 25, with disposable income and credit cards.” Typically, she said, the company does “a lot of marketing in other channels where we can be more targeted, such as with key-word search.”