An updated version of Rhapsody’s app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad was made available for download today. Yes, the update received approval from Apple. But no, the Seattle music service hasn’t bowed to the controversial new in-app subscription rules that would give Apple 30 percent of revenues from subscriptions sold through third-party iOS apps.
Rhapsody President Jon Irwin, who spoke out publicly against Apple’s plan when it was announced, tells GeekWire that his company is talking with Apple about the issue and is “hopeful” about reaching a resolution soon.
Irwin says he continues to see the 30 percent cut as a non-starter for Rhapsody’s business. “We don’t have the margins to do that,” he said. But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of some sort of revenue-sharing deal with Apple.
“We have a number of distribution relationships,” Irwin said. “We have a variety of different revenue-sharing relationships depending on what that channel is providing in terms of billing, customer care, or special marketing and promotion. We’re hopeful we can find a place that is fair and equitable with Apple to do that.”
He added that Rhapsody is “very interested and actively talking with them to come up with a distribution relationship. These are great products, they have a very powerful distribution platform to work through there, so that we can continue to deliver a great app to their devices, and a service that really adds value. We’re hopeful that we can have something definitive shortly.”
Irwin also hinted at how the issue could be resolved. “In terms of looking at what’s a reasonable distribution model, I think Apple has signaled that that there may be a difference between ‘publishers’ and ‘software as a service,’ he said. “We don’t create content, we’re a distributor of content, so we’re not technically a publisher. So clarification around that point is what we’re seeking.”
By the way, here are the release notes detailing the changes in the Rhapsody iOS app.
* All music now plays in line rather than in the Queue. Tap any track to start playing a list from that point.
* You can continue to use the Queue to line up music or start building a playlist (select “Add to…”). The Queue is now located in the Home menu.
* A persistent Now Playing list in the upper right allows you to browse the catalog while you always know what’s playing.
* A Shuffle button is now available in every toolbar.
* Access your playlists in the menu bar (toggle to see Rhapsody playlists)