It took Spotify six years to hit 3 million paying subscribers. It took Pandora eight. For Rhapsody, the least-hyped of the bunch, it took 13. That’s a helluva long time in Internet years.

Rhapsody announced the milestone on its blog today, and tied it to a somewhat interesting growth rate: The company’s subscriber base grew 50 percent in the last year. That’s minuscule when you compare it to Spotify’s recent growth, but there’s still something happening here. Honestly, we’re scratching our heads over it, but the numbers don’t lie (assuming Rhapsody’s stats are correct).

This chart shows how Rhapsody’s biggest milestones look from 2001 to today. It’s heavily approximated; we’re waiting on growth data from Rhapsody’s earlier years, which I’ll go ahead and assume wasn’t linear. But the trend is fascinating.

Rhapsody pins the cause for this growth on “emerging markets.” The company declined to break down its subscriber base by country, but called Brazil and Colombia its “fastest growing markets” — two of many regions where Pandora is not available.

And broadly, Rhapsody’s user base is growing as the subscription concept (renting, not owning, your music library) gains mainstream acceptance. The rising tide of subscription music services lifted Rhapsody big-time.

Rhapsody may not be a viable competitor to Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music, but it could be an interesting acquisition target as the streaming race picks up pace.


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