Real Audio on iPod! – Not Really.

“It plays on iPod!” “You can play it on iPod!” “Put your Real Audio files on your iPod!” Enticed by a dizzying maelstrom of assurances and come ons, Ogilvy PR director John Bell bought an iPod and tried to port his Real Audio collection to his new, glistening white brick. Try as he might, he couldn’t get the Real Audio files to play on his iPod. 92 steps and four hours later, after following tech help from Real Networks and driving to the Apple store, he still can’t get it to play.

In the end, one Apple rep suggested to him that, “back and forth bad blood between the companies that precluded cross support.”

Further proof that after 30 years as a cult brand, Apple has quickly come to the point where it unilaterally creates its own reality, at consumer’s expense.

Read more: “Trust is down in Real Networks” [Digital Influence Mapping Project]


Edit Your Comment

  1. KevinQ says:

    Consumerist said:

    Further proof that after 30 years as a cult brand, Apple has quickly come to the point where it unilaterally creates its own reality, at consumer’s expense.

    I don’t know. After reading his story, it sounds like Real’s the one trying to create its own reality. Apple never suggests that Real’s music will work on the iPod, that’s all Real’s doing.

    And if you check out this page (titled, How do I set up my iPod to work with RealPlayer?), and you know something about iPods, you can figure out that, yes, you can use your iPod with Real, but only as a file transfer device. Their instructions tell you how to set up your iPod to be used as a disk. Not how to actually use it to, you know, play music.


  2. Those bastards. My iPod doesn’t play vinyl or CDs or WMA or OggVorbis or Divx either! What kind of assholes sell a music player that doesn’t play every format ever created, not even when other people SAY it will play it! This is almost as bad as the time that the dairy farmers promised that I could use milk to run my automobile. Where does Toyota get off not supporting that format of fuel? (In retrospect, maybe I can only use my car to *transport* the milk . . . much like an iPod can store, but not utilize, Real media. huh.)

    The real question here, is why on earth would anyone store their music as Real files in the first place? It’s a worse format than Windows Media, which sucks. Real Media has only one purpose: low-bandwidth, streaming internet pornography.

  3. RandomHookup says:


  4. Crssy in Honolulu says:

    I’m with KevinQ and it.goes.there on this one. Apple never claimed that you’d be able to play Real Media on your iPod.

    That said, if for some reason you actually did want to listen on your iPod to the streaming audio you recorded from RealPlayer, all you’d have to do would be to convert it to mp3 format. There are a number of apps out there, both for Windows and Mac, that can do this. It’s not that difficult, and it definitely takes fewer than “92 steps.”

  5. Andy S. says:

    Considering that RealAudio holds the unique and unenviable role of “only digital audio format on earth that actually sounds worse than WMA”, I’d say that this whole business is something of a blessing for iPod owners.

    However, that there exists a person who is willing to spend four or more hours trying to shoehorn RealAudio files into an iPod… well, that’s just proof that Darwinism isn’t skimming the idiots out of the shallow end of the gene pool often enough.

    Regardless, it’s been a long-standing fact that the only digital audio format that you can rely on to be compatible with just about any DAP is MP3. If you obtain or purchase anything else — especially something that cannot be easily converted to MP3 — you are just asking someone to screw you over.

  6. matto says:

    What sort of knucklehead would posess a collection of RealAudio files worth four hours of support nightmare?

    Oh. “Ogilvy PR director John Bell”.

    I can’t actually think of a title more meta than ad agency PR director.

    Looks like we need to find some Marketting contacts at Real, and asking some hard questions. I guess a good start might be Carla Stratfold, Senior Vice President, North America Sales. From what I can tell of the email addressing at Real, her address might possibly be