Seattle streaming music service Rhapsody is adding a new feature that lets users share full-length songs on Twitter.
It’s an experiment for Rhapsody, which isn’t yet sure how many times the songs will be passed around on the social network.
But it could raise the profile of the company, which pioneered music streaming but has been losing money lately. It also has been overshadowed by Spotify and other newcomers with better funding. The company believes it’s the first to enable the sharing of full songs — not just snippets — on the social network.
“This is a period in music history and in streaming music where we’re not really taking our foot off the gas. It’s an investment year,” said Ethan Rudin, chief financial officer.
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Rudin said the music being shared is fully licensed and Rhapsody will continue to pay for each play as the songs spread through Twitterdom. There’s no limit on sharing or retweeting of songs, but Rhapsody may adjust its policies depending on how much usage it sees in the first month.
“Artists are being paid, labels are being paid,” Rudin said. “We’re trying to make music fun again and have people sharing as much as possible.”
Rhapsody hopes the feature brings in more subscribers. Twitter “audio cards” in which songs are presented will include a link to download and try the Rhapsody app.
Rhapsody charges $10 per month for unlimited access to a collection of 30 million tracks or $5 per month for an ad-free, Pandora-like radio service. It also has about 2.5 million subscribers.
The announcement is being made at the SXSW festival of tech publicity, music, film and Web topics that’s taking place this week in Austin, Texas.
Rhapsody also is getting help from artists including Pearl Jam, Fifth Harmony and Flo Rida. They will share songs from their latest album using the service, according to Rhapsody’s announcement.