SEATTLE — RealNetworks Inc.’s shares rose more than 20 percent today after a published report touted the company’s subscription music offering.
Shares of the Seattle-based company’s shares were up $1.17, or 20.7 percent to close at $6.83 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. RealNetworks’ stock, a high-flying Wall Street darling during the Internet bubble, has traded between $4.39 and $7.27 over the past year.
A report in the financial journal Barron’s argued that RealNetworks is an “inexpensive bet” because of its 40 percent stake in the music subscription market that writer Andrew Bary contended is showing more promise.
While Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iTunes service relies on selling songs outright for 99 cents per song, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service charge a $9.95 monthly fee to let people access songs for a set period of time. The company also offers the option to buy.
RealNetworks’ music business has in some ways been overshadowed by its ongoing legal battle with Microsoft Corp. RealNetworks sued its Redmond rival over alleged antitrust violations related to tying the company’s Windows Media Player to its dominant Windows operating system. RealNetworks makes a rival music player.
RealNetworks lost $1 million, or a penny a share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, including $3 million or 2 cents per share in legal expenses related to the antitrust lawsuit. RealNetworks expects to spend about $15 million this year on the legal battle.