Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another extended outage at Rhapsody locks out some users

An extended outage at RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service has locked out an unknown number of users for the second time since March.

While the earlier problem prevented some users from accessing the site for up to two weeks, this time the company doesn't know when the problem will be fixed. According to the company's message boards, some people began noticing the problem on Friday.

"It's a known issue," said Justine Navaja, a company spokesperson. "We don't know yet when it will be fixed, but it's only affecting a small group of users. We're doing what we can to make sure it gets fixed as soon as possible."

The company, which competes with Yahoo Music, Napster, and other subscription-based music services, isn't saying whether the glitches are related or what caused them.

Meanwhile, Josh Solera, a Rhapsody customer from Boston, worries that unless the company fixes the problem soon, he'll be cut off from his music.

The songs downloaded off of sites like Rhapsody and Yahoo Music, are restricted by digital rights management. The music licenses must be updated and that can only happen if customers are allowed to sync their computers to the service's Web site. If they can't sync within a specified time, then their music automatically locks up.

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