Rhapsody/Napster: Losing millions every month, but still innovating

Last month, we learned that streaming service Napster – better known as Rhapsody in the US market – isn’t finding life a breeze.

In the 12 months to end of December 2015, the business lost $35.5m, which works out at approximately $3m a month.

It is not alone in this struggle: except for those businesses backed by huge multi-national parents, independent music streaming services are finding it very difficult to turn a profit.

Even the market leader, Spotify, has just taken on $1bn in a debt loan to fuel its growth while it remains loss-making.

Rhapsody/Napster might not have Spotify’s resources, nor its subscriber base – at last count, Rhapsody/Napster was zoning in on 3.5m paying subs versus Spotify’s 30m.

But what it does share with the Swedish company is a real appetite for innovation.

Rhapsody/Napster has just introduced the Listener Network – essentially a social media sub-platform based on how compatible your music tastes are to other people.

The company is already comparing it to “a Tinder for music lovers”.

Here’s how it works:

Powered by Napster’s patent-pending Music Intelligence Engine, the new product not only allows users to easily find and connect with their Facebook friends on the platform, but also measure their music compatibility with friends and others.

In other words, if your music taste matches highly with another person, you could make yourself a new buddy through the system.

The service will even provide a ‘Matched Playlist’ based on overlapping music tastes between two users with similar audio predilections.

“We’re taking the concept of creating and sharing mixtapes fully digital and social,” said Thorsten Schliesche, Executive Vice President & General Manager Europe at Napster.

“Like a tinder for music lovers, we’re helping fans around the world find their music match.”

Thorsten Schliesche, Napster

“Years ago, you might have created a tape or CD to give to a friend. Now, your playlists can automatically connect you with the perfect people for discovering music that you’ll love.”

“As we celebrate 15 years in music streaming, today’s update continues our commitment to bring you closer to your friends and favourite artists, making it easier to discover new and trending music,” said Schliesche.

“Like a Tinder for music lovers, we’re helping fans around the world find their music match and create the best community for music discovery, listening and sharing.”Music Business Worldwide

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