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Real Rhapsody, Cool idea, Frustrating Software

First off, I think subscription music is going to be the norm very soon. If they can work out the rights such that I can take songs from my subscription onto a portable device, nobody will need to own music again.

That said, Real's Rhapsody music collection and software is nowhere near mature enough for everyday use.

1) Music selection is spotty at best. Sure, they have a ton of alternative fare, and I can dig deep into the Ninjatune Record Label's cd library (ex: Amon Tobin, DJ Food, etc..), but I run into roadblocks when I want to hear music by similar artists like Squarepusher who is on Warp Records, or Aphex Twin.

2) To fill the gaps as described in (1), you cannot include songs from your personal collection in the Rhapsody Experience. I feel it is awkward to have to use one tool to play music you own/borrowed/stole and another to play your Subscription Music.

3) Usability/Design failures drive me bonkers...

  • Doesn't support back/forward buttons on mouse.
    It's emulating a web browser, so emulate basic browser features too.
  • Awkward layout of content.
    Artist name is in upper left, but to go back to the homepage for the artist I must scroll the right side of the screen back up to the top and click on the "go to artist home" button.
  • Easy to play a song you just found right now, but impossible to add it to your current playlist at the end of the list.
    How are we supposed to create a party playlist if we disrupt the current track whenever you add somethign ot the list.
  • Metadata all over the place, and I can't click on it to see related content.
    Whenever I see an artists name, sunc as on a compiltion or in a paragraph which describes the influences of another artist, I should be able to click on that name to see the homepage fo that artist. Same thing with asong title. If I see Aerosmith's "walk this way", I should be able to click on "walk this way" to see all the covers and remakes of the song available on Rhapsody. By their design, a virtual homepage for each song title.

3 Comments

You can so add a song to the playlist without interrupting the current song or playlist. Go to Options / User Settings / My Library.

By Anonymous, at 5:04 PM  

Hey there -- if you like Rhapsody then you might enjoy
one of the service's less-obvious features: playlist blogging. Rhapsody enables subscribers to drop playlist links into their blogs (using MovableType, TypePad, and Blogger). A bunch of people (myself included) have started blogs dedicated entirely to blogging Rhapsody playlists. If you're interested in checking out how it works, I'd recommend visiting Rhapsody Radish (http://www.scopecreep.com/Rhapsody), JamBase Rhapsody blog (http://jbrhapsody.blogspot.com/), or my personal blog, Rhapsody Rock School (http://rockschool.blogspot.com). take it easy~

Matt

By mgrooves, at 8:39 PM  

Thanks for speaking your mind. Improvements would make Rhapsody an even better vehicle (as I agree the "use" model will beat out the "physical" model in time).

The Beach | rhapmusic | Rhapsody blog

By The Beach, at 4:28 PM  

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