RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK) has laid off 12 employees from its Rhapsody music division, we have confirmed from the company, following news earlier on AllThingsD. This is about 9 percent of that group. The reason: focus on online and mobile applications, rather than the desktop client and the editorial focus that Rhapsody has had from its start. Sad indeed, we all loved the Rhapsody client at one point, mainly for its elegant interface and slew of edit on music acts. But sign of the times as the music apps continue to migrate from dedicated desktop applications to online and mobile interfaces.
Here’s another reason for this trimming: In Q209, its music subscribers totaled 1.8 million, down from 2.9 million in the previous quarter, and 2.6 million in the year-ago period. For Rhapsody in particular, subscribers were down to 750,000, from 800,000 in the previous quarter, and up compared to the 600,000 in the year-ago period.
This follows layoffs at Real late last year, which then amounted to 7.5 percent of staff.