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-- Sony Music reported revenue of $1.38 billion and an operating income of $96 million in Sony Corp’s fiscal Q2 ending September 30. That was a 3% decrease (on a yen basis) in revenue versus the amount generated by Sony BMG in the same quarter last year. Operating income was negative in last year’s quarter. Q2 revenue was up 21.7% versus the previous quarter. (Sony owned 50% of Sony BMG until the music group became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony on October 1, 2008.) (Sony.net)

-- On Thursday RealNetworks announced its financial results for the Q3 ending September 30. Revenue for the quarter dropped 7.7% year over year. Net income, however, was $1.5 million. The company’s operating loss improved to $4.2 million from $27 million for the same period last year. Music revenue dropped 4.2% to $38.8 million. That was the first quarter since Q2 2008 music revenue was below $40 million. RealNetworks’ music gross margin dropped to 39% in Q3 2009 from 43% in Q3 2008. In addition, the company revealed it shed 50,000 Rhapsody subscribers, ending Q3 at 700,000. That was its lowest subscriber count since Q2 2008. RealNetworks also ended with quarter with 75 million radio subscribers, the same number as in the previous quarter. (RealNetworks.com)

-- Despite growing competition and lower subscriber figures, RealNetworks’ chairman and CEO, Rob Glaser, told analysts he is optimistic about Rhapsody’s future. “Rhapsody, no other product offers unlimited access to music on the iPhone. It’s our firm belief that it will continue to be a premium paid product. Europe, where record labels have been more flexible, Spotify has been very successful. So we think we have significant opportunities going forward as well." (paidContent)

-- Tech blog Ars Technica has a hands-on review of the music streams in Google’s search results. In their tests, searching by song lyrics had “hit or miss” results – especially for more obscure songs. But is the whole thing game-changing? “No,” says Ars Technica. The online music market is already mature, they argue. Well, that’s really hard to believe. Download growth may be slowing, but online services like the ones Google has partnered with have a lot of growth left in them. (Ars Technica)

-- Billboard has spent a bit of time with the Google search results and finds the partnerships to be a helpful improvement to the search process. Lala’s pop-up player indicates if the user already has the song in his collection at Lala. The MySpace pop-up player has a “Buy MP3” button, a link to a video (if available) at MySpace Video, and an “on tour” alert if the artist is on tour (even though the artist may be on tour in a different country at the time, as is currently the case with Green Day). Aside from the song links that take the user to pop-up players, there are links that go to the artist’s page at Rhapsody, Pandora and Lala. Nothing earth-shattering, but organized and helpful at the same time. Billboard will have more thoughts on Google’s foray into music in the coming days.

-- If you aren’t getting the new Google search results when you search for songs or artists, you can try it out here. (Via Digital Noise)

-- Just a week and a half after BSkyB launched its music service, Tiscali UK, a provider of broadband and phone services that is owned by TalkTalk, has launched a £9.99-per-month music subscription service with eMusic. It is Called Music For Life and like eMusic’s existing service offers MP3 files. The handful of reports on the news do not offer any details on pricing or number of downloads subscribers get each month. Upon the launch, however, new users get a free 14-day trial and 50 free tracks. Tiscali has six million users. (Broadband Expert)

-- Spotify installed new servers to handle its growing number of users – now put at five million. Said the company’s director of operations: ““We copied the design from Google pioneers – and designed the system to scale servers to grow with the business, so we were always able to add hardware to cope with more users.” (Computing)

-- Warner Music Nashville has struck a strategic partnership with BAM Racing that will allow the music group to tap into the NASCAR market. The deal will put Warner artists and their albums on BAM race cars and allow them live performances on race weekends. (NASCAR.com)

Follow Billboard senior analyst Glenn Peoples on Twitter at twitter.com/billboardglenn.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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