Rhapsody 2.0 App for iPhone/iPad/touch

This video really says it all.

Now, the implications are something else.  9,000,000 songs on my iPod touch for $9.99 a month sort of competes with what Apple is selling at their iTunes Store.  However, Rhapsody isn’t trying to sell songs to iPhone/iPod/touch users – in fact, if you click the buy button inside the Rhapsody 2.0 App, Rhapsody directs your request to iTunes.  That’s very gracious of Rhapsody.  Or was that the price for Rhapsody to get into Apple’s App Store?  I don’t know, but it works for me.  Why buy songs when you can rent them so cheaply?

I loaded the Rhapsody 2.0 App on my touch, logged in, picked my current favorite playlist, and started playing music.  A breeze.  All the existing playlists I’ve built on my regular Rhapsody account showed up.  Right now you can search on albums and songs within the app, and add them to a playlist for playing, but as this video promises, soon we’ll be able to play songs and albums directly, without adding them to a list.  Although, I’m thinking it might be easier to always use the playlist, but make one called “New Albums To Try” and then when Tuesday rolls around, put anything I want to listen to on it, and clean it out before next Tuesday.

And I tried the trick in the video of downloading my the songs in the playlist and then shutting off the Wi-Fi.  The 55 songs on my Songs Rated 10 played instantly.  Very cool.  I have a first generation iPod touch and it drains the battery very fast when Wi-Fi is on, so this is a great feature for me.

It took me a bit of poking to find the random play and repeat play buttons – they are hidden away on the song time scale that only shows up if you touch the screen near the top of the album cover.  When a song plays you get cover photo to look at, and behind it if you hit the info i button, you’ll get a short essay about the artist.  Overall, the app does everything I want but I’m expecting some nice surprises in future versions.

Rhapsody is a subscription music service and most music fans don’t cotton to that marketing model.  Those that do love it.  It’s another reason why Apple allowed Rhapsody in their app store, because renting music is so unappealing to the masses.  This latest version of Rhapsody (the service, not the app) is cheaper and has more features. 

And it makes a lot of sense to stream music to a phone where people have limited storage space.  I’d need a 128GB iPhone to store the songs I own.  Streaming 9 million songs works just as easily with an 8gb phone as a 16gb or 32gb model.  Because the Rhapsody 2.0 app lets you pick out albums using your mobile device, you don’t even have to mess with a desktop other than to sign up the first time.

Rhapsody is great for people who like to try a lot of new music.  It doesn’t take much effort to try out 20-30 new albums a month, and of those, I might add 10 songs to a playlist.  I won’t own those 10 songs, but I will have tried a lot of new albums.  It’s pretty cool to read your favorite music review magazine and just play the album while you’re reading the review.

It’s also convenient to have all your favorite songs and albums tagged into playlists for quick and easy access.  Think of an artist, group, album or song and type it in the search box.  If Rhapsody has it you can play it.  I’d say 90-95% of what you can think of is available.  There are a few famous holdouts, like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.  If I could convince Rhapsody to change anything, I’d ask them not to sell songs and albums from artists that don’t stream.  I don’t like paying to promote their work.

Generally where Rhapsody and other subscription services are weak is for finding out of print albums.  Of course, no one else is selling them either.  This is why people should still buy CDs.  Any time you find an album you really love, buy it on CD to save forever, because even in the digital world where keeping things in print would be a snap, albums disappear into obscurity.

JWH – 5/2/10

4 thoughts on “Rhapsody 2.0 App for iPhone/iPad/touch”

  1. *I believe in P2P file sharing. Music is free and should be free forever. People have been recording off the radio for years, this is nothing new. I just don’t feel that Rhapsody should be getting rich.

    1. What, you want to destroy all creative jobs? Stealing music is stealing music. You wouldn’t steal an iPod would you? Rhapsody is so easy that stealing would be more work, and it’s all legal and approved by the music industry. People pay $10 a month for HBO or the Sunday newspaper subscription, but subscribing to Rhapsody is like getting a movie channel with 95% of all movies in existence or all the newspapers in the world for the price of one. It’s a remarkable service for $10 a month. For the price of one cheap discounted CD, you can listen to nearly all CDs sold in stores at any given moment.

  2. Sounds like a really cool app. At the moment I am not paying for Rhapsody, one of the many sacrifices we made to get our debt wiped out. I miss it, A LOT. I actually miss it much more than my cable television. Once the debt is gone it will be one of the first things I consider bringing back online. We used it all the time and had great fun with it.

  3. I don’t miss cable TV at all. But I would miss streaming music. That’s why I loved Lala. I’ve been a subscriber to Rhapsody since 2004, and I’m rediscovering a lot of new features that I’ve neglected to explore. They have lowered the price, sort of. It’s $9.99 a month, but you can now load songs onto supported MP3 players for that price, which used to cost $14.99 month. For $14.99 a month, you now get the right to use Rhapsody on 3 mobile phones, I guess for families. But you could save money by getting the $9.99 package, which allows you to have one mobile phone and MP3 players. Before Rhapsody I used to buy 2-4 CDs a week, now I buy none, so it saves me a lot of money.

    But I’m all about cutting back expenses. Cable TV was a big one, but so is eating out. I try to only eat out for special social ocassions. I should learn to use the library more. I’ve noticed that most of my book club friends don’t buy books. I’ve stopped subscribing to magazines. It saves money and helps the environment. Also, I’ve stopped eating junk food – it saves calories and dollars.

    You can find lots of new music at Pandora.com or Slacker.com for free.

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