In one of the busiest years in streaming music history, Rhapsody today celebrated one of the company’s most successful years to date. Rhapsody, which operates as Napster outside of the U. S., grew its subscriber base by 45 percent in less than 12 months and now has nearly 3. 5 million global subscribers in 34 countries.
“Next year, Rhapsody will celebrate its 15th anniversary and we’ve never been more excited or optimistic about a category that we helped define in early 2001,” said Ethan Rudin, chief financial officer, Rhapsody International, Inc.
“Despite increasing competition, we continue to believe in the value of music and see our role as vital in creating experiences with music that users around the world will pay for. “This year, Rhapsody’s growth was fueled by major product enhancements that focused on making Rhapsody the most personalized way to enjoy the music you love. Rhapsody was the first streaming service to enable users to share full-length, licensed music on Twitter using audio cards.
This fall, Rhapsody launched a new set of activity-specific modes, including Rhapsody Kids, the first-ever dedicated streaming experience for kids, and Rhapsody Auto. These new modes fuel every music moment throughout the day for users – whether that is in the car, or when listening with your kids or when commuting without access to Wi-Fi or a data plan. These enhancements to the product are paying off.
Overall, global listening hours with Rhapsody is up nearly 30 percent in 2015. In addition to key new product innovations, Rhapsody’s footprint continued to expand quickly with the help of new landmark partnerships. This year, Rhapsody added support for new Chromecast Audio and Chromecast TV, Tango, Shazam, and a refreshed listening experience on Sonos.
Growth in Europe continued thanks to new channel partnerships that introduced Napster to an even wider set of music lovers. Napster inked deals with a variety of telco, entertainment and consumer electronics brands.
Notably, Napster launched a Napster product with global supermarket chain, Aldi; served as the featured music service for the sixth season of “The Voice” in Holland; and partnered with German news outlet, BILD.de, to directly integrate Napster into the web experience for readers.
Napster also started to break into sports with partnerships with top football clubs, including Borussia Dortmund (Germany) and The Corinthians (Brazil). “We’re closely studying how people are listening to and paying for music today,” said Rudin.
“What we’ve seen is that the idea of streaming music is still new to a lot of people and we believe there is still a lot of innovation to be had at price points between free and $10 per month. “Experimenting with new product price points is not new to Rhapsody. Last summer, Rhapsody introduced Rhapsody unRadio, Internet radio reimagined.
At $4. 99 per month, Rhapsody unRadio has no advertising and allows users to save up to 25 songs for offline playback. Interest in and use of the service is continuing to gain momentum.
In the first 18 months, subscribers have listened to more than 25 million hours of music and streamed 875 million songs through Rhapsody unRadio alone. Over the next several months, Rhapsody will continue to introduce new features and experiences within the Rhapsody app that make listening to music more personal. New features will also give a nod to the origins of streaming music by making the discovery of new music inherently more social.