Listen.com launched its subscription service, Rhapsody, last December, and has since scored deals with three major music labels: Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and BMG. These announcements don't come as a surprise, since recording labels have showed their interest in arranging digital music licensing for distribution over the Web recently. Listen.com's major deals follow a November agreement with The Harry Fox Agency, the licensing subsidiary of the National Music Publishers' Association.
Listen.com's Rhapsody is a new digital music subscription service, which enables consumers to listen to music over the Web. The service is built upon Listen.com's digital music and content delivery technology. Rhapsody is a combo of a number of popular music services and features. Once users install Rhapsody's app, their monthly fee will pay for unlimited streaming on-demand playback, unlimited Internet radio with access to more than 50 professionally programmed stations, access to Listen.com's expert editorial reviews, "Hit Kits" and recommendations, and they will also be able to build and share their own Playlist. Rhapsody has 128kbps playback quality and high-fidelity streaming Internet radio. Rhapsody is optimized for broadband connection speeds and will also support users with dial-up connections.
Prior to the deals with Sony, EMI, and BMG, Rhapsody's music library offered music from Listen.com's initial licensing agreements with 37 independent record labels. Listen.com announced additional deals with 26.2 Music, Ark 21 Records, Eroica Classical Recordings, GNP Crescendo Records, JamDown Records, Jazzateria, LoveCat Records, Slimstyle Records, and Tinder Records. This initial catalog offering gave consumers several subscription options to choose from, including: the Naxos Classical option, a catalog accessed for $5.95 a month, providing subscribers a selection of classical music from the Naxos label; the Sampler catalog, which for $5.95 a month, provides subscribers with access to a sampling of music from a range of genres, including blues, rock, country and electronica; and a Sampler Plus option, which for $7.95 a month, it gave consumers an "all-access" alternative that combines the two catalogs into a single subscription offering.
Rhapsody is available via the Listen.com corporate Web site: www.listen.com. The company has plans to make it available through Listen.com's distribution partners, which currently include Speakeasy.net and Naxos of America. Each of these distribution partners will market the service under their own brands.