Rhapsody

Digital music pioneer Rhapsody has cut 15% of its staff. (September 17, 2013)

Streaming music pioneer Rhapsody, one of the first digital music companies to offer access to songs through monthly subscriptions, has cut its staff by 15%.

Also, its president, Jon Irwin, is stepping down and will continue as a strategic advisor. 

Rhapsody International, the service's parent, said Monday that the layoffs were concurrent with New York investment firm Columbus Nova Technology Partners' taking a large share in the company.

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An executive committee has been formed to run the business. The company said it would focus on growing in Europe and emerging markets as it restructures its U.S. business. In addition, Rhapsody said it hired Ethan Rudin, a former Starbucks executive, as its new chief financial officer. 

Columbus' Jason Epstein and Andrew Intrater joined Rhapsody's board of directors.

"Rhapsody International is poised for tremendous growth," Epstein said in a statement. "‎We are grateful to Jon Irwin for his leadership contributions and also want to thank those employees we've had to let go today for their hard work and commitment to Rhapsody."

Launched in 2001, Rhapsody has had difficulty finding a broad audience as competing players such as Spotify have become entrenched in the increasingly crowded online music industry. Rhapsody acquired digital music forefather Napster International in 2011. 

Rhapsody in not the only online music company that has recently made management changes. Pandora Media Inc., the biggest Internet radio company, last week said Brian McAndrews would replace Joe Kennedy as chief executive at the end of this month. 

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ryan.faughnder@latimes.com