Confirmed: Layoffs at RealNetworks' Rhapsody
The ax is swinging at Rhapsody America. The subscription music service, a joint venture between RealNetworks (RNWK) and Viacom (VIA) subsidiary MTV Networks, is sacking nine percent of its employees, mostly in editorial.
Affected employees were notified this morning, and executives are meeting with remaining staff this afternoon to do damage control.
Slowing consumer and business spending due to the econalypse is the obvious explanation for today’s cuts, though Rhapsody’s struggle to compete with other music services, among them Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes, clearly played a role here as well.
RealNetworks last implemented layoffs in December 2008 when it cut 7.5 percent of its workforce.
UPDATE: A Real spokesperson has confirmed the cuts, noting that the company is “placing greater emphasis on mobile devices and Web platforms and less on editorial and heavy client software.”
Tim Quirk, VP of music programming for Rhapsody, has taken to Twitter to try to drum up some job leads for the folks he just had to let go.