Rage To Preview Third Album With Free Downloads

Live track, recorded at Woodstock '99, also will be offered to fans who buy the disc.

Fans of political thrash-rappers Rage Against the Machine will get an

early glimpse next month of the band's first album in three and a half

years when the single "Guerrilla Radio" and one other song are released

for free download.

The cuts, along with an unreleased live track, will be available in

RealNetworks' G2 format at www.realguide.com and radio-station websites

in early October, RealNetworks announced Thursday (Sept. 23).

Fans who buy the still-untitled CD, due Nov. 2, will have access to

another live track, recorded at Woodstock '99 in July. The cut will be

available for download only if the new Rage CD is in the listener's

CD-ROM drive.

"There's a lot of experimenting going on," Dave Richards, RealNetworks'

vice president for consumer products, said. "Here you're using the CD as

a key to unlock additional music."

The preview songs probably will be disabled automatically after the album

is released, Richards said. But he said final details of the promotion,

including the day on which the downloads go online, are still being

ironed out.

The album will be Rage's third.

The Los Angeles group's sound "definitely evolved a lot more [than it

did between] the first record and second record," drummer Brad Wilk said

before the band's Woodstock set. "It's branched out in a lot of different

ways that will surprise people."

Since releasing their self-titled debut in 1992, Rage Against the Machine

have developed a reputation for explosive live shows and fervent left-wing

activism offstage. Their second album, Evil Empire (1996), included

the crowd favorite "People of the Sun" ( RealAudio

excerpt).

The online CD promotion underscores a desire by Rage's label, Epic, to

move its music into cyberspace without alienating traditional record

stores, analyst Mark Hardie said.

"This business is still dominated by the sales at brick-and-mortar stores,"

said Hardie, who studies the online and entertainment industries for

Forrester Research. "You won't see record companies abandoning them for

speculation on the Net."

A spokesperson from Epic did not return calls for comment.

On Thursday, RealNetworks also released the "gold," or final, version of

its RealJukebox player and recorder. The software plays music in both

Real's G2 and the popular MP3 formats, and it will also create or "rip"

music into Real and MP3 files from CDs.

RealJukebox is the first software to work with a wide range of portable

MP3 players, including the RioPort Rio, Creative Labs' Nomad and players

soon to be released by RCA, Philips and Samsung. It also will support

Handspring's Visor handheld computer. (SonicNet's parent company, MTV

Networks Online, owns a portion of RioPort.)

[This story was updated on Sept. 24, 1999 at 2 p.m. EDT to reflect

additional reporting that took place after the story was initially

posted.]