Rhapsody is 13 years old today. A pioneer of music subscription services, Rhapsody launched in 2001 with a tiny catalog of classical music. It has since grown into a leading global on-demand platform with a full-price on-demand plan, and a half-price Internet radio service. Rhapsody does not offer an ad-supported “freemium” service — such plans have recently become controversial.
To celebrate its 13th anniversary, the company released some new internal data about the streaming platform’s success to date and its listener highlights for 2014. Rhapsody has paid more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in royalties during its lifetime. This year, it will pay out an average of $65 in label royalties for each retail subscriber.
The platform’s data highlighted the shift to mobile, noting that 63% of its global audience streams only on a mobile device. That “only” is important. Triton Digital noted that in August, 60% of webcast listening transpired via the top two mobile platforms (Android and iOS). But there was no mobile exclusivity attached to that number. rhapsody’s announcement indicates that about six out of 10 users are committed to mobile listening.
In-home streaming was the second most popular choice behind mobile. Rhapsody determined that connected audio devices were the top tech for in-home streaming. In fact, in-home streaming devices were more popular than personal computers for streaming.
Both trends, mobile and WiFi speakers, speak to the decline of personal computers as listening stations, at least for Rhapsody’s audience. It is worth noting that Rhapsody has a global footprint, with its acquired Napster brand leading the way in Europe and South America.
Rhapsody’s latest high-profile business alliance was a launch partnership with T-Mobile in the phone company’s Music Freedom plan. Rhapsody’s unRadio non-interactive service was boosted in that launch, and receives special promotion in T-Mobile’s marketing.