Rhapsody gets spun off, lowers monthly fee to $10

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Subscription music service Rhapsody announced today that it has officially separated from former partners RealNetworks and Viacom. To jumpstart its independence, the company has lowered its monthly price from $14.99 to $9.99, and new customers can use the service free for two weeks.

Rhapsody seems to be focusing on users of smartphones and other connected devices in hopes of beating other players to an emerging market: portable music streaming. The company has revealed plans to launch a Wi-Fi app for Android smartphones to let users take their music on the go, but there's no word on when that will be available.

Rhapsody president Jon Irwin noted that the company is mostly competing against start-ups, so it has an upper hand. It is the current market leader in music subscriptions with around 650,000, and it has partnerships with Sony, Verizon, Vizio, Sonos and other companies. Also, upon parting ways, RealNetworks gave Rhapsody $18 million, and Viacom will provide $33 million in free advertising on its properties, such as MTV and Comedy Central.

Update: The Android application is now available and you can find more information about it on Rhapsody's blog.

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