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Rhapsody/Napster gets in on the VR concert game

Music streaming service Rhapsody has announced the launch of a virtual reality (VR) app, Rhapsody VR, as it diversifies in the face of ever-increasing losses.

The independent Seattle-based company, known as Napster outside America, increased its revenue by 16% in 2015 but posted an average loss of around US$3 million per month, with an annual net loss of $35.5m.

Rhapsody VR launched on Android and iOS yesterday and promises “free, immersive 360-degree videos of great artists from the best seat in the house”. There are currently only nine concerts available on the app – most sourced from Rhapsody’s South by Southwest showcase in March – but the company says it plans to add new content regularly.

While Rhapsody has only 3.5m paying subscribers (compared to almost 10 times that for market leader Spotify), it has gained a reputation for innovation: Music Business Worldwide last month reported on the launch of Rhapsody’s Listener Network, a “Tinder for music lovers” which matches users with other people based on how compatible their music tastes are.

IQ earlier this week sat down with NextVR, a virtual reality company that recently signed a landmark deal with the world’s biggest concert promoter, Live Nation, to stream its concerts to viewers worldwide.