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Rhapsody has quietly released the beta of its app for Windows Phone 7, bringing its subscription-based music service to the Microsoft mobile platform. The company already offers apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

This is one area where the current lack of multitasking for third-party apps on Windows Phone 7 stands out as a glaring omission. Microsoft is promising to add the capability in a future Windows Phone update, but for now, users of Rhapsody and similar apps won’t be able to keep music playing in the background when checking email or doing anything else on the phone.

Rhapsody was spun off by RealNetworks and Viacom’s MTV Networks last year as an independent company, based in Seattle. It’s currently offering a special 60-day free trial, hoping to build more momentum in advance of the expected Spotify launch in the United States.

Subscription-based music remains a small niche, for now, but a recent report by ABI Research predicted a big jump in usage in the coming years, which would bode well for Rhapsody and others in the market. (Via CNet News)

WMPowerUser has a good first take on the Rhapsody app for Windows Phone — including this video — based on its early use.

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