Rhapsody Mobile App Allows Users to Download and Play Playlists
Monday 26th April 2010, Rhapsody, the US based music subscription service, has launched an update to its iPhone app – the key piece of news being that this update allows users to enjoy using the service anywhere they choose.
Apparently this is also the first time Apple has approved this feature in the US. Other subscription upstarts will no doubt be releasing apps with similar features later this year. Not withstanding, Spotify’s iPhone app was the first to offer such a feature set, yet that was Europe only, whilst this new Rhapsody app is US only.
In its most recent forecast on the U.S. digital music market, Forrester Research predicted that over the next four years the number of people subscribed to services like Rhapsody will double to more than five million, up from approximately 2.1 million today. Wireless subscribers will be one of the major drivers for that growth.
Using the app does require a Rhapsody subscription. This can be either the $10-per-month Rhapsody Premier offering Rhapsody introduced earlier this month (which provides access to Rhapsody on one mobile device) or to the $14.99 Rhapsody Premier Plus plan, which lets people access the service on up to 3 mobile devices.
Yet TMV does question the pricing, as numerous studies have countless times come to the conclusion that for mass uptake to occur around the “sweetspot” is $5 USD per month rate. No doubt there are licensing issues holding this back.
Rhapsody President Jon Irwin states that the launch of this new iPhone app “marks a turning point for Rhapsody and subscription music”. Whilst yes, TMV do believe this is a step forward, it does also need to be noted that in the overall scheme of things the iPhone makes up such a small footprint in terms of mobile handsets, on a global level, that we question whether this is really such a big thing?
It must be stated that music service providers (subscription services and basic retailers) need to avoid excluding non-iPhone device users. Blackberry still retains a large share of the smart-phone market and Android is growing at an ever-increasing rate. Furthermore, whilst Nokia has lagged in recent years, its market share is formidable, as is the Symbian OS (Sony Ericsson, LG, Nokia and Samsung), despite its rather clunky user experience.
On a final note, TMV believe that the industry will only begin to realise profitable subscriber numbers across the subscription service landscape when cross platform offerings, in the mobile space, are a regular offering to consumers. For this to happen the industry does require such dynamic services as this new release from Rhapsody to work across platforms and also with medium level handsets – not just super smart phones.
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