Rhapsody International, working to stay relevant in a crowded market, announced Tuesday (July 29) it has surpassed 2 million global subscribers to its music streaming services.
Rhapsody offers an on-demand music subscription service under the brands Rhapsody and Napster. Included in the updated subscriber number are customers of unRadio, Rhapsody's new advertisement-free radio service.
In business since 2001 in the United States, Rhapsody has been surpassed by more innovative services. The younger Spotify is the world leader in on-demand subscriptions with 10 million, a figure announced in May. Deezer announced in November it had 5 million subscribers. Using a unique combination of unlimited music and prepaid mobile service, Muve Music had amassed 2.3 million subscribers in the United States when acquired by AT&T in March.
But Rhapsody has made attempts to gain momentum. The company added a new investor, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, in September. In November, the company laid off 15 percent of staff -- and president Jon Irwin -- while adding resources to its European operations. In a November conversation with Billboard, Jason Epstein, Rhapsody board member and partner at Columbus Nova, said the company had a "strong pipeline" of products and partnerships.
The company also announced the expansion of two partnerships. French mobile operator SFR will make unRadio available under the Napster brand as Napster Découverte, or Napster Discovery in French, for €3.95 per month. In Latin America, a partnership with Telefónica will put the Napster Premiere service into Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Rhapsody reached 1 million subscribers back in December 2011. It had just closed on its acquisition of Napster from Best Buy, a deal that provided presence in the U.K. and Germany. In 2013, Napster would launch in an additional 14 European countries as well as Brazil. Rhapsody and Napster are now available in a combined 32 markets.