RealNetworks Sets Rhapsody Free To Fight Spotify Et Al

RealNetworks, the company behind the popular RealPlayer media player, has announced that the company plans to restructure its music subscription service, Rhapsody and plans to launch it has a separate company.

Rhapsody online music subscription service was jointly launched by RealNetworks and MTV Networks in December 2001 and was the first music service to offer streaming on-demand access to a large library of digital music.

According to several industry experts, the plan to restructure and re-launch Rhapsody is the first major change since founder Rob Glaser gave way to Bob Kimball as the company’s CEO.

Several sources within the company have confirmed that major changes will be taking place within the company and plans are being formulated to restructure Real to focus on core businesses.

Bob Kimball, CEO RealNetworks, commenting on the company’s announcement to restructure Rhapsody, said in a press release that “Separating Rhapsody into its own independent company is a significant first step in making RealNetworks a more focused and profitable company. Rhapsody will be the largest pure-play digital music service in the market.”

Rhapsody music subscription service offers customers a chance to listen and download more than a million songs in the company database for a monthly rental of $12.99.

Our Comments

However, the service failed to achieve widespread popularity and failed to compete against Apple’s iTunes store which allows users to download each song for a dollar. But then the arrival of Spotify has changed many things and it could well provide Rhapsody with the opportunity to go global.

Related Links

RealNetworks makes key play with Rhapsody spinoff

(Seattle Times)

RealNetworks spins off Rhapsody music service as solo act

(LA Times Blog)

Real Spins Off Rhapsody

(Seattle PI)

RealNetworks, MTV to Make Rhapsody a Separate Company (Update1)

(Business Week)