Across the pond: Rhapsody launching in Europe

For the first time, Rhapsody is going international.

GigaOM reported that Seattle-based Rhapsody will launch in 16 European countries in the second quarter of this year. It’s a move that will keep Rhapsody, the longest running music subscription service in the U.S., competitive with Spotify, which hit one million paid U.S. users last month.

In December of 2011, Rhapsody said it had topped 1 million subscribers for the first time in its history, leveraging its MetroPCS partnership and its acquisition of the Napster music service from Best Buy.

Via the Napster brand, Rhapsody does have a footprint in the U.K. and Germany already. But this is certainly a huge step up to expand into other markets.

Rhapsody is an independent, privately held company, based in downtown Seattle, following its 2010 spinoff from RealNetworks. However, RealNetworks retains a large stake in Rhapsody and reports Rhapsody’s financial results as part of its quarterly regulatory filings.

Previously on GeekWire: Rhapsody allowing AT&T subscribers to pay for music subscriptions with wireless bills