When listing streaming music services, we sometimes don't include Rhapsody. But 45% growth - all in paid subscribers - coming during a year when Apple Music and Tidal launched, Rdio went bankrupt and the industry questioned ad-supported streaming, cements Rhapsody's place as a top tier player in 2016.
Rhapsody, which operates as Napster outside of the U.S., announced that its subscriber base grew by 45% in the last year to 3.5 million subscribers in 34 countries.
Rhapsody credits product innovation for the growth, including being the first to enable sharing of full-length, licensed music on Twitter using audio cards and activity-specific modes including Rhapsody Kids and Rhapsody Auto. Overall, global listening hours on Rhapsody was up nearly 30% in 2015.
Rhapsody also introduced unRadio, a $4.99 per month no advertising Pandora-like service that also allows users to also save up to 20 songs for offline playback. In the first 18 months, subscribers have listened to more than 25 million hours of music and streamed 875 million songs through Rhapsody unRadio.
“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, Rhapsody International. “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.”
Over the next several months, Rhapsody says it will add new features and experiences within the Rhapsody app to make listening and discovery both more personal and more social.