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Rhapsody Drops Prices

RHAPSODY RELAUNCH: Rhapsody cut its subscription fees today by as much as a third to $10 a month, which includes the ability for subscribers to listen to music on a computer and any one portable device, including Google’s Android. The music sub service had earlier charged $12.99 a month to stream from its catalog of 9.5 million songs, while adding an MP3 player raised the fee to $14.99. The new pricing scheme comes as the Seattle company announced its spinoff from RealNetworks, with MTV and UMG remaining as minority owners.  The  company’s paid subscriber base has dwindled from 800k  in early 2009 to 675,000 by the end of the year.  Since adding the ability to stream to Apple's iPhone last Sept., Rhapsody's app, which offers a seven-day free trial, has been downloaded 1.5 million times, though it’s unclear how many of those have been converted into paying subscribers. A $30 million ad blitz is set to launch in the coming weeks on Viacom’s network of media outlets, including MTV and Comedy Central. (4/6a)

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