Rhapsody Goes To Europe As New Music Services Compete, News Corp’s Fails

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Chasing the post-download digital music opportunity, veteran services are seeking scale to fight dominant newcomers, whilst strangers from outside the space are launching their own new services with mixed success.
The Incumbent

On the eve of the big Midem music conference in Cannes, Rhapsody today says it is moving in to Europe by acquiring Napster International, the division service the UK and Germany. That is the latest piece of the jigsaw after the company in October announced Napster’s U.S. acquisition from Best Buy.

The company pioneered the unlimited music space in 2001 but, despite turning around customer decline following its spin-out from RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK) and Viacom (NYSE: VIA), its subscriber base has been overtaken four-year-old Spotify.

Last disclosed user counts were 750,000 versus 2.5 million. Napster brings an estimated 350,000 extra customers to Rhapsody. The combined figure of over a million, which Rhapsody itself disclosed on Thursday, is still shy of Spotify, but moving in to the big new territory of Europe – just as, vice versa, Spotify has embraced Rhapsody’s U.S. patch – could grow Rhapsody’s customer base further.

In Europe for the first time, Rhapsody will migrate Napster subscribers to its own platform in March, introducing its own web player, but the Napster brand and employees will remain in place in the UK and Germany. Read the full story at Paidcontent.co.uk


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