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Rhapsody Debuts Streaming for Kids

The company is the first music streaming service to target the children of music fans.

Rhapsody has been streaming music for some time now — long enough, apparently, for its developers and subscribers to have made people of their own, little people who they may not want to be listening to, for example, Coil’s “The Anal Staircase.” To that end the company — which has 3 million subscribers in 30 countries, and whose own research told them over half of those listeners have children — has created a new section of its streaming app specifically designed for kids.

Rhapsody Kids, the first of its kind in pure-play streaming, features at least one clever feature parents will recognize — and pull out the headphones for. “Kids wanna hear the same song over and over and over, so the default setting has ‘repeat’ on,” says Nathan Rozendaal, senior director of product for Rhapsody and the brains behind Rhapsody Kids.

“Having your kids grab your phones and drain your battery is… challenging,” laughs Jessica Abramson, head of global brand marketing and public relations for Rhapsody. With Rhapsody Kids, you can “pass your phone and put it into kids mode, and they can navigate it easily.”

The app allows parents to add songs, albums and playlists to their individual Kids sections, as well as country-specific playlists from the company’s editorial staff, as well as a general catalog that spans 16,000 kid-friendly artists, 80,000 albums and 1.2 million tracks. And parents: have no fear, this is an algorithm-free zone. Besides the intrinsic creepiness of having children’s tastes collated by computer, the danger of a Coil song blasting into sensitive ears is a concern. “We wanted to make sure the content is vetted, and every track or playlist is appropriate,” Rozendaal says.

And since we’re handing our phones to kids for them to explore their musical tastes — and maybe give us a second of peace — what of games? “That would be a natural step,” says Rozendaal, “and we’ve had conversations with some kids gaming companies about collaborations.”

Giving kids an easy-to-use interface — not unlike their grandparents might expect, actually — and a walled garden (a simple “logic” problem is baked-in to prevent them exiting the Kids section) to play in will be a welcome feature for parents… though it probably won’t be too long until they’re asking those same whippersnappers how to program their new four-dimensional, all-in-one entertainment device.