Rhapsody, the music service (and app) that shares the most in common with Spotify, has actually been around a lot longer and stacks up against Spotify pretty well. While their pro and con lists mostly cancel each other out, we think Rhapsody has a better, more feature-packed mobile app.
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Like Spotify, Rhapsody is a subscription-based streaming music service offering millions of songs to its users for a monthly fee. The meat of each music service and app is clearly its music library and desktop application, but we think Rhapsody’s mobile app may be bit more robust.
The Rhapsody app offers the same music information as its desktop version, and it uses your listening information to offer up new artists to try. Spotify’s mobile app, on the other hand, has only a fraction of the features of its desktop sister, acting mostly as an on-the-go streamer.
Rhapsody’s service is, however, more expensive. The basic monthly subscription is $9.99/month, and their premium service (which allows users to download and play music from up to three devices rather than just one) will run you $14.99/month. That compares with $4.99/month for the basic service from Spotify, which gets you ad-free listening on your computer, and $9.99/month to extend that service to your mobile phone with Spotify Premium.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Spotify does not require a subscription—you can access nearly its entire 15-million-song library for free, as long as you don’t mind an ad blaring through your ear holes every few songs. (Rhapsody’s $9.99/month sub is its minimum cost of entry.)
If you believe the numbers, Spotify has a slightly bigger library as well (15 million versus 13 million), though you’ll be hard pressed to listen to 13 million songs in your lifetime. Spotify also provides a higher maximum bit rate (i.e., higher sound quality) for its streaming songs.
So why would you choose Rhapsody? There’s a good chance you might just like the app better. And what advantages Spotify gains with its array of music managers, playlist makers and listening-habit analyzers are lost on the mobile app, which doesn’t make use of them. Rhapsody’s music suggestions and analytics work both on your desk and on your phone.
Plus, Rhapsody has an iTunes-like mp3 store. Songs typically cost $0.99 and are DRM-free—meaning you can transfer them to other devices and programs as you please. And because you own them, you won’t lose access to those songs if and when you stop subscribing to Rhapsody’s streaming service.
Reviewed: Jul 23, 2012 | Allison JohnsonAlso featured on: 5 Best Music App Alternatives to Spotify