New Service Debuts with Exclusive Material from Diddy
MINNEAPOLIS, SEATTLE and MILPITAS, CA, Oct. 5, 2006 - Today, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) unveiled the Best Buy Digital Music Store, a new service that will give customers an easy way to enjoy, manage, and discover music. The new service is powered by the RealNetworks®, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: RNWK) Rhapsody 4.0 music service, and features both a permanent download store and a subscription download service. As part of this launch, Best Buy also will carry and promote the SanDisk® Sansa e200R Rhapsody MP3 players, which have been optimized to work seamlessly with the Best Buy Digital Music Store. The Best Buy Digital Music Store and the Sansa e200R RhapsodyMP3 players will both be available at participating Best Buy stores as of Sunday, October 15th.
"Our goal is to deliver entertainment to our customers how, when and where they want it, and to help them have the best possible experience," said Jennifer Schaidler, vice president of music for Best Buy. "The Best Buy Digital Music Store and Sansa e200R Rhapsody are part of that goal allowing us to provide an end-to-end digital music solution that will deliver unique content and a premium customer experience. Whether they want to purchase downloads or a subscription and have access to all the music, we're giving consumers the ability to enjoy entertainment on their terms."
"We have spent more than two years developing the new Rhapsody, creating the best end-to-end digital music experience ever," said Rob Glaser, Chairman and CEO, RealNetworks. "Our alliance with Best Buy and SanDisk provides an awesome marketing and distribution platform to deliver this great experience to consumers."
"SanDisk is proud to team with Best Buy for the launch of their Digital Music Store featuring Rhapsody 4.0," said Eli Harari, president and chief executive officer, SanDisk. "This three-way relationship gives consumers everything they need to seamlessly obtain and enjoy their music."
The Best Buy Digital Music Store will launch with an exclusive track from Diddy, whose new CD, Press Play, goes on sale October 17.
"Best Buy has always been a strong supporter of artists and a leader in the music industry, so I'm proud to help them launch the Best Buy Digital Music Store with an exclusive track," said Sean "Diddy" Combs. "This site will give artists a great way to reach out to fans and will help fans discover new music."
By aligning with RealNetworks and SanDisk, Best Buy leverages its position as an entertainment leader, its understanding of consumers, and the strengths of RealNetworks and SanDisk to bring a compelling end-to-end music solution to its customers. Best Buy is the #1 retailer of MP3 players in the U.S. SanDisk is the #2 manufacturer of MP3 players in the United States, and has been growing market share rapidly over the past year. RealNetworks is the #1 digital music subscription services provider, with more than 1.6 million subscribers. The Best Buy Digital Music Store powered by Rhapsody is part of an agreement between Best Buy and RealNetworks relating to digital content services. As part of this agreement the parties will be jointly promoting the Best Buy Digital Music Store in connection with Rhapsody optimized devices. Best Buy intends to include Best Buy Digital Music Store software and service offers in its stores, and on Bestbuy.com.
Rhapsody 4.0 gives the Best Buy Digital Music Store an innovative and customer friendly music listening experience. Based on the critically acclaimed Rhapsody digital music service, Rhapsody 4.0 adds more flexibility and features to help listeners discover new music, and was specifically designed for tight integration with the Sansa e200R MP3 Rhapsody player.
How Music Lovers Can Enjoy their Songs:
The Best Buy Digital Music Store offers millions of songs that can be accessed in two different ways:
Based on SanDisk's popular e200 MP3 player, the Sansa e200R Rhapsody line is designed to work seamlessly with the Best Buy Digital Music Store.
The Sansa e200R Rhapsody comes with a free, two-month subscription to the Best Buy Digital Music Store, allowing consumers unlimited access to millions of songs; continuous new music with Rhapsody Channels (with the ability to save and skip songs); personalized music based on a subscriber's favorite artists and listening history, and hundreds of preloaded songs including major artists via Rhapsody Channels and Playlists. After the free, two month subscription, the customer purchases a subscription in order to keep it active according to its terms.
The Sansa e200R Rhapsody is available in capacities ranging from 2 to 8GB, and comes with all the world class features of a standard e200, including audio, video and photos; digital FM tuner; integrated voice recorder with built-in microphone; strong, scratch-resistant alloy casing; a microSD expansion slot for additional memory capacity; a sleek, thin design with large 1.8" TFT color screen, and a customer replaceable, rechargeable Lithium Ion battery with up to 20 hours battery life (based on continuous playback at 128 kbps MP3).
Pricing for the Sansa e200R MP3 Rhapsody player ranges from $139.99 MSRP for the 2GB model to $249.99 MSRP for the 8GB player. Best Buy Digital Music Store costs are additional.
About Best Buy Co., Inc.
Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is an innovative Fortune 100 growth company that continually strives to create superior customer experiences. Through more than 840 retail stores across the United States and in Canada, our employees connect customers with technology and entertainment products and services that make life easier and more fun. We sell consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services. A Minneapolis-based company, our operations include: Best Buy (BestBuy.com and BestBuy.ca), Future Shop (FutureShop.ca), Geek Squad (GeekSquad.com and GeekSquad.ca) and Magnolia Audio Video (Magnoliaav.com). We support our communities through employee volunteerism and grants from The Best Buy Children's Foundation.
RealNetworks®, Inc. is the leading creator of digital media services and software including Rhapsody®, RealPlayer® 10 and casual PC and mobile games. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to create and deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer software at http://www.real.com/. RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located at http://www.realnetworks.com/.
SanDisk® is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products, using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is headquartered in Milpitas, California, and has operations worldwide, with more than half its sales outside the U.S.
SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Sansa is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation. SD and microSD are trademarks. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder (s). RealNetworks, Rhapsody are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BEST BUY, the BEST BUY logo and BEST BUY DIGITAL MUSIC STORE are trademarks of best Buy Enterprise Services, Inc.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including expectations for new product introductions, applications, markets, and customers that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include among others: market demand for our products may grow more slowly than our expectations or there may be a slower adoption rate for these products in new markets that we are targeting, and the other risks detailed from time-to-time in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. We do not intend to update the information contained in this press release.
Best Buy Media Contacts:
Brian Lucas, Best Buy
SanDisk Media Contact:
Carmella Lyman, Lyman Public Relations