Rhapsody Revenue Up 14%

RealNetworks released fourth quarter 2008 earnings that show music revenues for the company increased 8% from the same period last year, to $43.9 million.

The company does not break down specific revenues for the Rhapsody subscription service, but says the total was « driven primarily » from the service, and that the service’s revenue is up 14% year-over-year. And for the first time, the company has broken out Rhapsody subscriber numbers. The service had more than 775,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, an increase over the 600,000 listed in the fourth quarter of 2007.

RealNetworks credited the removal of DRM from any songs purchased via the service and it’s operational and marketing partnership with mobile operator Verizon Wireless as helping propel Rhapsody forward.

In a pre-earnings announcement, RealNetworks lowered the valuation of the Rhapsody America joint venture-which it operates with partner MTV.

Overall, RealNetworks reported a net loss of $240.5 million on revenues of $152.6 million for the year. It music operations generated the most of all the company’s content areas, and is second only to technology products and solutions division.

By Antony Bruno, Denver


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