Rhapsody Nears 3.5 Million Global Subscribers

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Stalwart streaming music service Rhapsody has grown its subscriber base by 45 percent over the last year, and now has nearly 3.5 million global subscribers in 34 countries, the company announced on Monday. Rhapsody was able to grow despite increasing competition in the streaming market by the likes of Apple Music, Tidal and YouTube.

"Next year, Rhapsody will celebrate its 15th anniversary and we’ve never been more excited or optimistic about a category that we helped define in early 2001," said Ethan Rudin, chief financial officer. "Despite increasing competition, we continue to believe in the value of music and see our role as vital in creating experiences with music that users around the world will pay for."

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According to Rhapsody, the year’s growth was fueled by various product enhancements and "activity-specific" features, including Rhapsody Kids, Rhapsody Auto and Twitter Audio Cards, which lets users share full-length, licensed music on Twitter. The company also inked numerous partnership deals, with Sonos, Google’s Chromecast, Shazam, and Tango.

In Europe, where it operates as Napster, the company launched a product with supermarket chain Aldi, paired up with German news outlet and became the featured music service for the sixth season The Voice in Holland. It also inked partnership with several football clubs.

Rubin said the "idea of streaming music is still new to a lot of people and we believe there is still a lot of innovation to be had at price points between free and $10 per month."

Rhapsody keeps things simple in terms of subscription tiers, with an ad-free streaming tier for $9.99 per month, plus a Pandora-like radio product for half that. Like most of its competition, it does not offer a free, ad-supported option.

The ups, the downs, the numbers, the names -- here's Billboard's scorecard on how each streaming service made out in music’s new fiercely competitive frontier.