Music subscription service Rhapsody is going to launch in 16 additional European countries in the second quarter of 2013, CEO John Irving told me during a meeting at CES 2013 Thursday. This marks the first proper international launch for the long-standing music subscription service. Rhapsody already has a presence in the U.K. and Germany through its Napster acquisition, where it operates its subscription service under the Napster brand, but hasn’t launched any Rhapsody offering in any other markets beyond the U.S.
The news comes on the heels of an announcement by headphone maker Beats Electronics that it has recruited online music pioneer Ian Rogers to run its yet-to-be launched music subscription service, which is currently code-named Daisy. Beats acquired the struggling music subscription service MOG last July, and now plans to launch a new offering with the help of some of MOG’s technology and licenses.
Irving lauded Beats for picking Rogers, who will leave his chief executive post at the artist services startup Topspin Media to head the new service. “Welcome to the space,” he said, but cautioned that it won’t be easy for Beats to compete with established players like Rhapsody and Spotify. “Ian Rogers has a very difficult task in front of him,” he said, adding that it will be hard to match the international reach of Spotify or the device penetration of Rhapsody. “Other services have ways to go,” he said.
Rhapsody has been the longest-running music subscription service in the U.S., and has more than one million subscribers. The company was seemingly caught by surprise by Spotify’s quick ascent, but has in recent months fought back with a number of new apps and features. Rhapsody also announced at the CES that it is now available on Ford SYNC-enabled cars and that the service will come to Roku players soon.
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