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Free Rhapsody at Adelphi University

The promotion is part of a growing trend of technology companies targeting campuses with cheaper music downloads.

Students living on the campus of Adelphi University in New York will get several months' worth of free access to RealNetworks' Rhapsody online music service, the company announced Thursday.

The free access will be available until May, after which students on campus will have to pay a discounted rate of $2 a month. The normal fee is $9.95 monthly.

Additionally, students who commute will be able to get the service for $2 a month, the company said.

Technology companies have increasingly targeted university and college campuses with wireless Internet offerings and cheaper music downloads. Subsidized music offerings are designed to discourage illegal downloads and piracy among students.

RealNetworks has been trying to make a dent in the digital-music market, which is currently dominated by Apple Computer's iTunes service and iPod device. RealNetworks' "Harmony" technology enables songs sold through its retail stores to be played on Apple's iPod. The company recently said it sold 3 million songs for 49 cents each during a three-week promotion. Rhapsody's library includes 790,000 songs and 60,000 albums.

Adelphi University has 8,000 students from 44 states and about 60 countries.

"Providing quality education is unquestionably the university's top priority," Jack Chen, Adelphi University's chief information officer, said in a statement. "However, we at the same time also recognize that easy and low-cost access to online music is important to our students. With Rhapsody, our students will have a legal way to access a vast catalog of digital music."