RealNetworks, the company behind the Real video and music player has launched an online music service in the UK to compete against the likes of Napster and Apple's iTunes Music store service.

The difference over conventional services is that the new offering from Real is browser based rather than requiring customers to download specific software to access the store.

Debuting in the UK, the new service will cost £8.50 per month, with downloads expected to be priced at £0.99 ($1.76, €1.48) per track or £7.99 per album.
Subscribers to RealMusic get access to more than 300 CD-quality, ad-free radio stations, hand-picked by Real's global team of music editors, as well as artist radio stations.

The service also includes exclusive partner stations licensed from industry-leaders such as Ministry of Sound, Carl Cox and GMG Radio (SmoothFM, Real Radio, JazzFM and Hed Kandi) as well as the ability to search for thousands of internet radio stations.

Unlike any other music service in the UK, RealMusic will feature a chart of the top ranking tracks and ringtones created, submitted, and rated by users themselves. This makes the site an ideal outlet for unsigned talent to promote and sell their music to new audiences.

“RealMusic is the first comprehensive music service to give users access to radio, music videos, downloads and ringtones - plus the ability to play and buy original user-generated music”, said Gabriel Levy, Head of Music, RealNetworks Europe.