Rhapsody Surpasses 3 Million Subscribers

The grandfather of music subscription services added 1 million subscribers in less than 12 months.

It took Rhapsody International 12 years to reach the two-million subscriber mark. Reflecting the growing acceptance of the subscription business model, Rhapsody reached three million subscribers in less than a year, the company announced in a blog post Wednesday morning. 

Often forgotten amidst the attention given to Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, Rhapsody has one of the larger customer bases of its peer group. Spotify and Deezer have over 20 million and 6 million subscribers, respectively. Tidal had 540,000 subscribers when it was re-launched under Jay Z's ownership in March. Apple Music is effectively starting from scratch after rebooting Beats Music. 

Although its stability belies its weak media attention, Rhapsody is similar to its peers in that it consistently loses money. According to the 2014 annual report of RealNetworks, a 43-percent owner in Rhapsody, the subscription service lost approximately $10.4 million last year and posted similarly large losses in the preceding two years. 

Losses aren't the end of the world. CFO Ethan Rudin previously told Billboard the company tries to run "as tight an operation as possible" but that 2014 and 2015 were "investment years." To bring the subscription model to new consumers, Rhapsody has partnered with mobile operators -- especially in Latin America, where Colombia are Brazil are Rhapsody's fastest-growing markets. "Our goal is just to distribute music to more people and have them pay for it," said Rudin.