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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 17, 2011 at 4:00 AM

MetroPCS dials up Rhapsody

Seattle-based Rhapsody’s announcing a big partnership today with MetroPCS, which is going to bundle Rhapsody’s streaming music service with its $60 per month unlimited wireless plans.

MetroPCS subscribers will also be able to use Rhapsody’s “all you can eat” music service on their PCs and other devices besides their phones. By itself, the service costs $10 per month for unlimited, ad-free access to Rhapsody’s catalog of 12 million songs, or $15 per month for a version that lets you download songs to multiple mobile devices.

Dallas-based MetroPCS has 9.1 million subscribers to its flat-rate, pre-paid wireless service and network coverage reaching more than 280 million people. It’s the fifth-largest carrier in the country.

The deal should help Rhapsody, which spun out of RealNetworks last year, boost subscriptions beyond its current 800,000.

Although Rhapsody was an early leader in subscription music, it’s facing intense competition from newcomer Spotify and other services such as MOG and Microsoft’s Zune.

Rhapsody also has a partnership with Verizon Wireless to pre-install Rhapsody on its mobile devices. The MetroPCS deal goes further and bundles Rhapsody with a pre-paid wireless service.

“Rhapsody Unlimited Music service not only delivers ‘music for all’ but also gives consumers convenient access to their music collections on our expanding portfolio of Android devices,” Tom Keys, MetroPCS president and chief operating officer, said in the release.

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