I give a death metal boy band about as much a shot as making it as TiVo's (NASDAQ:TIVO) new music service through RealNetworks' (NASDAQ:RNWK) Rhapsody.


Sure, the new offering looks great on paper. Many of TiVo's 4.2 million current subscribers already have their set-top boxes glued to the Web for programming updates. Why not charge them $12.99 a month to deliver unlimited streaming of Rhapsody's growing library of more than two millions songs?

I'll tell you why not. They're already paying as much as $16.95 a month for a TiVo subscription. Do customers really want to spend another $13 for music? Especially when they're going with TiVo over a rival's free DVR service because they're fanatical about consuming video content, not music?

Besides, I can listen to music for free through my TiVo. Whether it's going through Live365.com for Internet radio or playing stuff off my PC after a TiVo desktop software upgrade, is Rhapsody all that compelling?

Yes, it's a great feature for existing Rhapsody subscribers. Now they'll have one more way to milk more out of their existing subscriptions. I just don't think there's a whole lot of overlap between the services, even if they both represent paid subscriptions for something in which inferior alternatives are plentiful yet free.

I don't blame either company for trying. RealNetworks needs deals like these to offset Napster's (NASDAQ:NAPS) growth spurts. TiVo never seems to say "no" to a potential partner. I just see bigger potential in more logical pairings -- like TiVo offering Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) digital downloads directly into its hard drive -- than a music deal that will sadly fall on deaf ears.

Pause on this Foolishness:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does love his TiVo, and he does own shares in TiVo. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.