I have to say that, overall, I love to use the subscription service. Let’s start with the basics. The basic premise of unlimited music is brilliant. I am one of those consumers that is not tied to physical CDs so being able to stream almost any song at any time on my PC is great. Most online music services offer an unlimited streaming option so there is nothing special about that.
As far as the selection, Rhapsody offers enough categories for most music enthusiasts. From Punk to Rap to Pop to Rock.
Rhapsody integrates playlist creation, CD burning of purchased tracks, and organizing your MP3’s of your PC very seamless and easy to use. Because they use the Real Player technology to do all of this, they pretty know what they are doing when it comes to those things.
The Rhapsody channels is a cool feature. Channels are collections of songs and artists that Rhapsody puts together for you, similar to a radio station playlist. For example, the Run DMC channels has rap/hip-hop artists that sound like Run-DMC. It’s a good way to discover new music or music you have not heard in a while.
The things that I don’t like about Rhapsody are the recommendations (or lack thereof), the community aspects of the service (or lack thereof), and the portability of music.
There is not really any recommendation technology built into the current version of Rhapsody. That means you kind of have to know what you want to listen to or be willing to search and dig and search more for new music. I hate that. Rhapsody does offer a “If you like this song, you will like this song” feature but it is very limited (3 songs) and the recommendations don’t seem that accurate. On a couple of occasions, I totally hated all of the songs that they recommended.
As far as community features, there are none. Rhapsody does offer user generated playlists but they are not organized well at all. You have search a long list of playlists in a specific genre but it is very cumbersome to do this and takes a lot of effort to find playlists you actually like. There are no user to user connections like friends lists, recommendations, or recently rated content. There is no community on Rhapsody. If you want community, go somewhere else.
Now to portability, if you want to port your music to your mobile device (cell phone or MP3 player, you have to buy an additional subscription for an extra $4.00. This sucks! Also, if you purchase any of the tracks (for $0.89 cents) you stream on Rhapsody, you can’t play them on Windows Media player smart phones.
Overall, because I am a passive listener, Rhapsody is a good service to use and I would recommend it to most. For those looking for community and recommendations and immediate portability to your portable device, Rhapsody is not the place for you.