Rhapsody president shaves head as service tops 1 million paid U.S. subscribers

Rhapsody announced on Thursday that it now has more than 1 million paying subscribers in the United States. The company claims it is now the top pay-for music streaming company in the country, although we imagine Spotify is nipping at its heals now that it has more than 2.5 million subscribers globally. In celebration of the milestone, Rhapsody president Jon Irwin shaved his head, a promise he made to the company if it ever reached million subscribers. “We’ve accomplished quite a bit over the past decade, so it’s no small statement to say that 2011 was probably our biggest year yet,” Irwin said. It is quite a big achievement; one might have assumed Rhapsody’s user base would have declined with the influx of other pay-for music services such as Spotify, Slacker, Pandora, Rdio and others. “The next frontiers for subscription music are the living room and the car,” Irwin said. “Consumers will be able to enjoy Rhapsody from even more connected audio and video systems, as well as other platforms and distribution channels—at home, in the car and everywhere in-between, domestically and abroad.” Rhapsody’s full press release follows after the break.

Rhapsody Goes Platinum
Over One Million Paying Subscribers are Listening to Unlimited Music with the #1 Premium Music Service in the Country

SEATTLE, Dec. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Rhapsody has cemented its position as the largest premium subscription music service in the United States with the announcement today that it has surpassed the one million paying subscriber milestone. On the heels of its 10-year anniversary, Rhapsody is delivering more music—averaging more than 10 million songs a day—to more music lovers than ever before.

“We’ve accomplished quite a bit over the past decade, so it’s no small statement to say that 2011 was probably our biggest year yet,” said Jon Irwin, president, Rhapsody. “I told our team that when we topped one million paid subscribers, I’d shave my head… it was probably the best free haircut I’ve ever had.”

In addition to surpassing the one million mark, it’s been a noteworthy year for Rhapsody, which launched a new, social music experience in September, completed an acquisition of Napster November 30 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in early December.

Rhapsody’s ongoing commitment to accessibility has also helped create separation in the space. Now available on more devices (60+) than any other subscription music service, Rhapsody has shown that access beyond the PC is a premium feature consumers are willing to pay for, as demonstrated both by subscriber growth and usage. 2011 was the first year that a majority of the playback came on a device other than a PC–40 percent of which was mobile–a trend that’s expected to continue.

Partnerships with companies such as MetroPCS, which bundles Rhapsody with its prepaid unlimited text and data plans, continue to introduce Rhapsody to new consumers who value having their music on the go.

What’s next for Rhapsody?

“The next frontiers for subscription music are the living room and the car,” said Irwin. “Consumers will be able to enjoy Rhapsody from even more connected audio and video systems, as well as other platforms and distribution channels—at home, in the car and everywhere in-between, domestically and abroad. This has been an incredible year, marked by several notable achievements, and we’re entering 2012 with big plans to bring music to even more people, in more places.”

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