Aarti Shah 22 May 2013 // 11:00PM GMT
SEATTLE — Online music provider Rhapsody has consolidated its global PR with Weber Shandwick in a seven-figure deal.
Weber will service Rhapsody in North America, Western Europe and Latin America with wholly-owned offices, as well as in 16 other European markets that Rhapsody plans to expand into this year.
The review included three large agencies.
Jaimee Minney, senior director of PR for Rhapsody, told the Holmes Report the scope of the work will be heavily steeped in media relations and content strategy. There will be a digital component to the program with a portion of social media remaining in-house.
“We have our own homegrown editorial team making videos and playlists,” Minney said. “We’re developing ways to leverage and syndicate that content.”
While Rhapsody was among the early pioneers in online music, it has seen steeper competition from players like Pandora and Spotify in recent years. Its new PR program will help Rhapsody differentiate from the pack and “establish a real connection to our customers and partners,” Minney said.
As part of this, Rhapsody plans strengthens its mobile play, develop more companion apps like SongMatch and consider new business models, including more “free experiences.” Unlike many others in the space, Rhapsody is a subscription-only service, however it does offer free trials.
“We are considering ways to make the Rhapsody experience much more immersive,” Minney said. “You’ll see a lot of innovation from us on that front.”
The company is also considering how to align its multiple brands identities: Rhapsody in the US and Napster in EMEA.
Rhapsody’s existing agencies -- Lyman PR in the US and the CC Group in the UK -- are currently transitioning the business to Weber.
Tim Fry, who heads Weber’s global tech practice, said the win reflects the agency’s digital entertainment experience. For instance, Weber currently works with Rhapsody partner Sonos and previously launched Netflix in Latin America.
“Rhapsody is looking to tell a story to a broad audience across multiple geographies and channels,” Fry said. “We’re an agency that has evolved to be fully capable to support this.”