Rhapsody has been around for 10 years, and through partnerships the service is widely available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smart phones; MP3 players from Apple, Philips, and SanDisk; as well as a whole host of home audio hardware including Denon Systems, Logitech Squeezebox, Philips Streamium, Sonos, and Tivo.
At $9.99 a month for the Premier option, Rhapsody is a solid value, giving you unlimited access to an impressive 10.6 million-song catalog of on-demand streaming music and downloads, lots of programmed radio stations, and online or offline listening on mobile devices (mobile downloads are currently supported on Android, the iPhone, and the iPod touch). We also love that the extensive editorial content is integrated into the mobile and desktop services, with easy access to artist info and much more. Bonus: If you want to buy the MP3 of a song, you can get it at the Rhapsody MP3 Store, without having to log into another service. Premier Plus offers music downloads to three mobile devices.
The desktop interface sparkles, with plenty of easily accessible features, info, and listening recommendations right on the homepage. The mobile interface is also uncluttered and easy to navigate. Downloads and streaming content sounded very good in 128Kbps MP3 format, though a high-fidelity option for downloads à la MOG would be nice.
Click to enlargeThe Radio feature lets you choose from 200 stations programmed by a 15-member editorial staff. The selection is outstanding, with a wide variety of imaginatively named subgenres such as "Acoustic Dawn" and "Big Hair." We found it to be a fun method of music discovery.
Playlist Central is a clearinghouse for user-posted playlists, themed lists, label spotlights, and celebrity playlists from Anthony Bourdain to Sonic Youth. You can create your own playlists or have Rhapsody create an instant playlist for you based on songs you've played or rated. Sharing playlists on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail is simple, and you can make them public in your user profile, which others can see via Rhapdsody's Community feature.
Rhapsody Community is very well designed, letting you add users as friends and see what they've been listening to recently. We like that you can easily add your friends' music to your own queue or playlist, and you can create an instant playlist from friends' recent plays. We wish you could search for people by name/e-mail or add friends via Facebook.
Rhapsody is very versatile, thanks to its extensive hardware compatibility and massive catalog, and we love the depth provided by the well-integrated editorial content. The social component is a very good start, and we hope Rhapsody continues to develop it.