Rhapsody has struck a deal with MetroPCS Communications to make the Rhapsody Unlimited Music service a new feature of the wireless carrier’s premium monthly cell-phone plan. The Seattle-based music service is looking to boost its user base in the face of increased competition from Spotify and other rivals in the subscription music business.
The companies announced the deal this morning. Dallas-based MetroPCS says customers with Android handsets and its $60/month plan will now get unlimited access to music from Rhapsody’s 12-million song catalog.
Financial terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed.
Apart from being a nice bonus for MetroPCS users, it’s a potentially big distribution channel for Rhapsody’s service. MetroPCS is the fifth-largest wireless carrier in the country, with about 9.1 million subscribers. Its monthly plans go as low as $40/month. The $60/month plan also includes other extras such as visual voice mail and turn-by-turn driving directions.
Rhapsody, previously a joint venture of RealNetworks and MTV Networks, currently has more than 800,000 subscribers. Rhapsody was spun off last year as an independent company, based in downtown Seattle. Its basic music subscription normally costs $10/month.
The launch of Spotify in the U.S. last month has put new attention on the subscription music industry, and created new competition for Rhapsody. Spotify reportedly signed up 175,000 paying subscribers in its first few weeks.