--RealNetworks laid off 12 employees from the Rhapsody music service. The company told reporters that it is refocusing on online and mobile applications, meaning less on its editorial and desktop client support. The layoffs represent about 9% of the company's staff, and comes just after the service lost 50,000 subscribers from the first to second quarter of the year. (AllThingsD)
--Activision and videogame developer Double Fine have settled the lawsuit over the highly anticipated heavy metal fantasy adventure game "Brutal Legend." The settlement was reached out of court, and details were not disclosed. However the upshot is that Electronic Arts will remain the game's publisher, and it is expected to be released in October as originally planned. Activision was the game's original publisher, but reportedly dropped the title during its merger of Blizzard Entertainment. The scuttlebutt around the videogame industry was that Activision wanted to somehow merge "Brutal Legend" into its Guitar Hero franchise, and then tried to bury the game once the developers resisted. Double Fine then took the game to Electronic Arts. (Joystiq  )
--News that the major labels have secured equity in the much-hyped Spotify streaming music service has the Internet abuzz. According to Swedish tech mag ComputerSweden, the four majors hold an 18% share in the service, which they received for "a pittance" - basically paying about $14,000. TechCrunch , meanwhile, reports sources saying the labels paid the same going rate for their equity as other investors.
Much has been made about the label investments, but it should come as no surprise as the labels have made gaining equity in new online music services a priority for some time now, striking similar deals with Lala, imeem, and MySpace Music. The exact nature and details of these equity deals are rarely discussed, but by and large they can be a combination of straight cash infusions (such as Warner Music Group's investment in Lala) or some flavor of equity-for-music-licenses tradeoff (elements of which can be found in both the imeem and MySpace Music deals). Each deal is of course different, and the labels are modifying their equity strategy with each new company they work with based on the successes and failures of past deals.