Rhapsody spins off, debuts new Android music app

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Digital music service Rhapsody has parted ways with partners RealNetworks and Viacom and will continue as a stand-alone entity, Rhapsody International. "Right now is the right time [to spin off]," Rhapsody president Jon Irwin tells Wired. "The advent of networks, smartphones, app stores, awareness of subscription services and record label support--all of those are pointing to this being the right time." The new-look Rhapsody will slash its unlimited music service subscription price from $15 per month to $10, a cost more consistent with rival all-you-can-eat music providers. In addition, Rhapsody will introduce a new application optimized for Android smartphones, giving users access to its complete catalog of 9.5 million tracks--thanks to Android's multitasking capabilities, subscribers can play music in the background while interacting with other applications, an option currently unavailable via Rhapsody's iPhone app.

RealNetworks filed to spin off Rhapsody earlier this year. Wired reports the deal was finalized last week, but not filed with the SEC or formally announced until today. RealNetworks also plans to spin off its games business as the digital entertainment services firm looks to emphasize its carrier-focused software as a service business as well as its RealPlayer consumer efforts.

For more on the Rhapsody spinoff:
- read this Wired article

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