Rhapsody is the latest music application hoping to get approved for the iPhone, offering a way to select any song to play from a catalog of more than 8 million tracks.
If it does get approved, it will be the first significant subscription-based music service that lets you select songs directly for play — as opposed to other services, such as Pandora, where you’re relegated to listening to themes or radio stations and not able to pick individual tracks. As such, it is a direct competitor to iTunes, so we’ll see how quickly Apple approves this.
Even then, using the service is expensive. The iPhone application itself is free, but you’ll still need to be paying the $14.99 monthly subscription for Rhapsody’s mobile service, called Rhapsody to Go. If you’re a plain Rhapsody subscriber, at $12.99-a-month, you’ll have to upgrade to the $14.99 per month plan.
Rhapsody is owned by Real, which has just blogged about the application on its site.
I used Rhapsody (I subscribed to it for a while a few years ago), and it was great as far as it went — it lets you create playlists and save them, like other services, and lets you play an artist’s radio. It gives all kinds of information about the artist, the track and related genre — plus new songs that are showing up. However, I gave up on the service because of its limited selection. On the upside, it appears to have since beefed up on its catalog — still, it’s not quite worth the $14.99 a month for me.
See the demo below. Searching and selecting a song is simple. However, keep in mind that this is a web-based service (so requires a connection with 3G, Edge or WiFi), so gets interrupted if you go offline — and thus doesn’t offer the same rich experience as iTunes does, even though it costs so much to use. As Gdgt notes, apparently Rhapsody is working to make this offline capability possible. Another service, Spotify, is planning an iPhone application that caches tracks for offline listening, but Spotify hasn’t even released in the U.S. yet, and there’s no telling when it will be will be available here, let alone on the iPhone.