by Peter Rojas on August 24, 2009
Yep, Rhapsody is coming out with an iPhone app. Or at least they want to. Real just submitted it to the App Store for approval, so it may be a few weeks before it’s actually available (assuming Apple doesn’t get all fussy and block it). If it does get approved, it’ll be the first major, fully on-demand subscription music library app on the iPhone — besides iTunes, of course, and therein lies the rub.
What you get is nothing less than full access to everything in Rhapsody’s catalog, including over eight million tracks, all of its radio stations, and the ability to create playlists on the fly. (The app also syncs with your account, so you can listen to playlists you’ve already created or browse music you’ve saved to your collection.) It’s like being able to store several million tracks on your iPhone or iPod touch. Well, when you’re online, that is — and that’s the other problem. Read on for more.
I spent a half-hour playing with the app when the guys from
Real were in town, and came away impressed. Searching for music and
creating a playlist was about as easy as it gets, and you can browse
charts, new additions to Rhapsody, staff picks, etc. just like you can
with Rhapsody on the desktop. Tracks started playing
nearly-instantaneously and generally everything about the app was
speedy and fluid.
But unlike Spotify’s yet-to-be-released iPhone app, Rhapsody’s app lacks
offline capability. That means you can’t cache tracks for later
listening, but Real says a 2.0 version with this feature is planned
(again, assuming that Apple doesn’t freak out), something which would
make this app very compelling.
The app itself is
free, but you need to be a $14.99-a-month Rhapsody To Go subscriber to
actually use it (they’re not extending it to Rhapsody Unlimited
subscribers who pay $12.99 per month). Real is planning some sort of
limited-term free trial, but otherwise there isn’t much you can do with
the app if you aren’t a subscriber.
$15 a month can seem a
little steep on top of a monthly service plan, so I suspect most
initial users of this app will be existing Rhapsody subscribers for
whom this will be a nice add-on to their current service (seriously, if
you already have Rhapsody you will love this). But it probably won’t be until they’ve introduced offline listening that they’ll be able
to lure new users Rhapsody — and this app is a great calling card for
the service. And if Spotify introduces a similar service with a lower
monthly fee, that might entice Real to drop their rate a bit.
your eyes peeled for an official announcement once this thing gets
accepted to the store, as well as for an Android version in the next