Don’t Worry, Rhapsody Only Lost $21.34 Million Last Year…

Freemium isn’t just killing the services that offer it.  It’s also killing those that don’t.  

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Like Rhapsody, a paid-only service whose financial losses are now ballooning.

The strangest part is that Rhapsody has over 2 million paying subscribers, which apparently doesn’t cut it.  There are simply too many music fans unwilling to pay.  Just last week, Rhapsody received a $10 million loan, a desperate move that probably won’t burn past this year.

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During the past quarter alone, Rhapsody lost $8.9 million, nearly 6 times the losses from the same period in 2014.


Source: RealNetworks SEC filings.

23 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Nothing will change until copyright law is enforced again.

    • monte

      The gov’t is controlled by tech companies.

      The gov’t will never enforce copyright.

      It’s up to the artist to stand up… if they had balls. Most artists do not.

    • Anonymous

      Eventually the Earth will get engulfed by the sun, and that will surely change things. So you are wrong.

      • Cliff Spivey

        When that does happen, it will be the internets erm….I mean Googles fault! Surely they have the ability to prevent it.

        • Name2

          We sent repeated takedown requests to Google over their obvious infringement of the end times.

          Still… NOTHING!!

    • Name2

      Nothing will change until music reaches a palatable price that makes it suitable for business plans.

      • Remi Swierczek

        Absolutely correct.
        Nothing will change unless music will become merchandise again or Ek will be able to charge $49.99 for subs.

        Option one is primitive and requires only cooperation of intoxicated by ads Google.

        Option two does not exist. Warner’s CEO statements on free subscription show reality of the business.

  2. Casey

    Rhapsody’s future has been a bit uncertain for some time now. Much of their growth last year was through partnerships. These customers are not loyal to Rhapsody. They are essentially being bought. And likely have lower margins than your direct customer, especially for unRadio. Which in my opinion is one of the worst radio offerings I have ever tried.

    Honestly I don’t care anymore. They threatened to discontinue their legacy software player in December, which prompted myself and others to move to different services because their new software player lacks critical features. Then Rhapsody apparently backed off from that threat after receiving backlash but they never contacted those of us who left. And they are not addressing the reasons people threatened to leave in the first place.

    • Adam

      Rhapsody “discontinued support” for their legacy player this month. You can still use it, though. Still a loyal fan of the service but, agreed, the new desktop player is awful.

      • Name2

        It took them several months to offer an upgrade on the Windows desktop client beyond v4 to XP/SP3 users.

        I wish I knew at the time that v4 would continue working. That was an awesome piece of software, but unfortunately all the downloads were at best 160kbps WMAs. Torture.

        More annoying is that their Android client development path has now dropped support for any versions of Android below 4.0, and the versions that still do work on pre-4.0 Android devices (that I have found) max out at 192kbps AAC for stream and/or download.

        Mistake #1 was made a long time ago: partnering with Microsoft to pump out crappy-sounding WMA. Still, Rhapsody offered convenience, retail sales, and common-sense software that far bigger names still only dream of.

        I’ll miss it.

        • Casey

          I still have the installation files for V4. But I hear they will no longer authorize the installation or something?

      • Casey

        As much as I hated the new version, I was willing to live with it if they had added support for local files. Some of which I actually bought from Rhapsody. But their refusal ended my subscription of many years.

  3. Remi Swierczek

    We can convert all of Radio and all of streaming to $100B music store.

    Google can double revenue as the best executor of new music industry or be the biggest roadblock to sanity and continue to keep it subscription and advertising concentration camp!

      • REmi Swierczek

        Logic is inducing vulgarity in you 🙁
        You must be working for one of those great upside-down organizations.

    • Name2

      We can convert all of Radio and all of streaming to $100B music store.

      Dear Remi, thank you for your valuable contribution to a thread about a dying corp. that ambitiously offered streaming, radio, and retail download sales.

      • Remi Swierczek

        Thank you for encouragement.

        Let’s connect with Larry Page so he can double his Google on the back of not so smart music industry.

        Actually, besides Len Blavatnik and Vincent Bollore there is no business minded human inside of music industry. Unfortunately both overloaded with other projects.

  4. Evan

    When I did my first release in 2004, Rhapsody was paying well. I watched everything change and they fell by the wayside.

  5. jason

    Rhapsody would solicit feedback with surveys once in a while. Then they would do nothing with the results. I loved their mobile app, but they would make too many small but important mistakes: a new album would need to be searched by the album name because it wasnt showing under the artist, for example. A track would be misspelled and would not show up on an album, for another. Also, they did NOTHING with all of the data they housed. You would think that with all of that listening history, recommendations would be fine tuned. Nah, always promoting the new rap artist on blast was easier.

  6. Jeff Robinson

    These services are so desperate to keep subscribers that they insecurely give away the farm to keep them. If you opt to quit Rhapsody at the $9.99 rate, they immediately offer a $4.99 subscription rate to keep you.

    • Casey

      Their $5 plan isn’t what it used to be though. They used to offer the full subscription for $5 per month when you went to cancel. Now it is just radio with a handful of on-demand songs. I’d subscribe to Pandora any day over unRadio.

      • Name2

        I was “grandfathered” into their 3-mobile-device plan for $14.99/mo for many months before I read a random forum posting pointing out their revamped pricing structure, which meant that now:

        1) 3 portable devices could be authorized (just not simultaneously) for $10/mo, not $15

        2) if you just let it sit there unchanged, they’d happily continue to help themselves to $15/month off your card (which Rhapsody did) for 3-dev authorization.

        • Casey

          Yeah I remember when they did that. I had the $10 1 device plan and suddenly could activate 3 devices.