Music subscription service Rhapsody, the grizzled veteran in the ever-changing world of digital music, saw its revenue fall by more than $3 million to $140.6 million in 2013, while its net loss widened to more than $14.6 million — moving the company further away from the elusive goal of profitability.
The results for the privately held, Seattle-based company were disclosed last week in a footnote to RealNetworks’ annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. RealNetworks, which spun off Rhapsody as an independent company in 2010, still owns about 45 percent of the music service, a stake that requires RealNetworks to report the results of its Rhapsody investment publicly.
Rhapsody faces tough competition from Spotify, Pandora and other big brands in digital music, but the company, originally founded in 2001, has displayed unusual staying power by adapting to the world of smartphones and streaming music devices.
The RealNetworks filing shows that Rhapsody narrowed its loss to $12.23 million in 2012, before posting the wider loss of $14.66 million in 2013. We’ve asked Rhapsody for comment on the latest numbers. The company said previously that international expansion and severance costs related to layoffs were impacting its financial results.
Rhapsody cut 15 percent of its workforce last September, and its longtime president, Jon Irwin, stepped down with the arrival of a new investor, Columbus Nova Technology Partners, which made a “significant investment” in the music service. Columbus Nova is known in part for its earlier acquisition of Rock Band creator Harmonix from Viacom, which has been a longtime Rhapsody investor.
Spanish telecom giant Telefonica last year took an equity stake in Rhapsody, as well, as part of an effort to expand Rhapsody’s Napster brand internationally. Rhapsody acquired Napster in 2011 from Best Buy.