Rhapsody International, the parent company of the Rhapsody and Napster music services, posted a $21.3 million loss in 2014, even as its revenue climbed 23 percent to $173 million and its total subscribers surpassed 2.5 million.
The financial results for Rhapsody were revealed this morning in a regulatory filing by RealNetworks, which remains a minority shareholder in the privately held, Seattle-based music company after spinning Rhapsody off several years ago.
Rhapsody declined to comment, and the filing did not explain the reasons for the loss, which compared to a $14.7 million loss in 2013.
However, the result underscores the high cost of operating a digital music business, with large marketing expenses required to bring aboard new subscribers, in addition to music licensing fees. Rhapsody has been adding subscribers despite increased competition from Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and many others in the broader market for digital music.
Announcing its subscriber numbers earlier this month, Rhapsody credited the growth to partnerships with companies like Audi and initiatives like the Internet radio service called unRadio, which the company launched in partnership with T-Mobile in June and allows users to listen to songs commercial-free for $4.99 per month — half as much as the normal Rhapsody premium monthly service of $9.99.
Rhapsody also noted at the time that 88 percent of its subscribers listen on the company’s mobile app, while 70 percent do so exclusively.