Rhapsody International has expanded the customer base for its Rhapsody and Napster music services by 50 percent over the past year, to more than 3 million subscribers combined, but that growth has come at a price, according to new financial details revealed in an SEC filing this morning.
The Seattle-based company, facing competition from Apple, Spotify, and many others, posted record revenue of more than $50 million for the second quarter, according to the regulatory filing by RealNetworks, which owns 43 percent of Rhapsody following its spin-off of the company several years ago. That’s up from $42.4 million in revenue in the same period last year.
However, Rhapsody’s loss widened to $12 million for the quarter, compared with a loss of $4.7 million in the same quarter a year ago.
The results illustrate the high cost of growth, with large marketing expenses required to bring aboard new subscribers, in addition to music licensing fees. Although its basic financials are reported by RealNetworks, Rhapsody is a privately held company.
Update: Rhapsody provided this statement from Ethan Rudin, the company’s chief financial officer: “This year Rhapsody has focused on investing in its products, promotional opportunities, and partnerships with Twitter, BandPage, Shazam and others. It’s an exciting time for us, and we’re committed to continuing to make the best service for music lovers, starting with our more than three million global subscribers.”
Announcing its new subscriber numbers last month, Rhapsody said mobile usage was up 60 percent over the past year, and it had success signing up subscribers in markets where music piracy has long been a problem, such as Italy, Colombia and Brazil.
In March, Rhapsody became the first streaming music service to offer full-track playback on Twitter when subscribers share songs with their followers. Asked about Rhapsody’s timeline for profitability at the time, Rudin said, “2015 is a watershed year, not just for Rhapsody but for streaming music in general. It’s not a period in time in which we’re taking our foot off the gas. It’s an investment year.”