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Review: Rhapsody Music Service


I have been using Rhapsody music service since December of 2004. For that reason I think that I can give a truly honest and knowledgeable review of the service. My common usage is about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and sometimes even more than that. I use it at work over a cable broad band connection. I'll start out by saying that overall my experience has been very good soooo lets move onto the break down.



Music Selection

The selection of music on Rhapsody is great. They are constantly adding to their selection and it is absolutely monstrous. I've been very pleased and have found pretty much anything that I was looking for. That doesn't mean that there is everything. Certain bands like Radiohead and Beck have not released all of their catalogue, or any at all. Radiohead doesn't have any of their music available. Beck released his newest album "Guerro" for about a month when it first came out. After the 1st month the album only had about half of the songs that had originally been available. I suspect that this resulted from persons involved on certain songs didn't give their permission.

Aside from not all music being available, the selection, ease and opportunity of finding new music is excellent. You can have a service like Rhapsody and suffer from musical Attention Deficit Disorder. It is a super fast service on my Cable Broadband, and there is hardly any delay from selecting a track and playing it. So you are never at a loss for finding new music. The only issue now is having time to listen to it all. I have found many new bands that I would never have had the opportunity to hear before. The cost is the same no matter how much music I try $10 a month. Less than the cost of one cd.


Service quality

Music quality is fantastic. They do have a hi-fi and lo-fi setting. Lo-fi is obviously for persons without a fast web connection. The hi-fi service has quality as good if not better than most MP3's you could download. They are definitely better than MP3's at 123 Kbs per second.

The actual service is pretty good. I have only had a few situations were the actual service was down. I think I can only remember 2 days in almost a year where Rhapsody wouldn't allow my machine to connect to their servers, and even then it could very well have been my Internet providers having a routing problem. Another note worth mentioning is that it was only for a few hours. I had been listening all day and the service just had problems that evening.

I do have buffering problems sometime. But yet again I think it is an issue with my ISP and not Rhapsody's fault.


The Player

The Rhapsody Player. What can I say. It kinda sux. The player is more of a browser if anything. It has a big interface at the top that looks like a regular cd player would. Bigger and bulkier than I would like, I primarily use the little controller that auto hides off the screen while I'm working. However even with the big browser minimized, it takes up space on my tabs at the bottom of the screen. This is only slightly a problem only because I have so many programs open at once. It would be much better if it would just disappear to the task manager and start bar and not take up tab space.

The way the player works as a browser isn't bad. It is very intuitive and it lends itself to finding and trying new music. Even though this is good to an extent, I don't like it as much as I do Winamp. Winamp does such a great job of staying out of the user's way and executing its job as a music player. If you want a music library manager you just right click on the face or hit alt+l and it pops up. I really wish that the Rhapsody player could take a few notes from Winamp, which has got to be the absolute best player on earth.


Pros

  • Fast reliable Service
  • Good Music Quality
  • Huge catalogue
  • Cheaper than one album

  • Cons

  • Crap player
  • 800 song play list limit
  • too much bandwidth needed to use on slower connections
  • Minor buffering problems

  • Conclusion

    If you are constantly looking for new music and you want to try it legally, and are in front of the computer for long hours at a time; GET RHAPSODY.
    It is a very good service and the benefit far out weigh the costs. Compared to napster - I'm not real sure the winner. They are both very similar. However Rhapsody kix the crap outta ITunes and any other service that requires you to pay per track.

    Whatever the case, I'm highly supportive of Rhapsody and are very pleased with this online service. No matter what, it is worth $10 for a month to try. Heck you might even get it for free to try.

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