Real Rhapsody Hits The iPhone


As expected, Real’s all-you-can-eat music streaming Rhapsody service has hit iTunes today. And while the iPod Touch/iPhone app is free, a subscription runs $15/month. As I wrote last month, “I’m not sure they’ll pick up many new customers. But iPhone owners who enjoy Rhapsody on multiple platforms, like Sonos and TiVo, will likely welcome this app to the fold.” What differentiates Rhapsody from say a Pandora is the ability to play any of their 8 million songs on demand, allowing you to create an infinite number of unique, personal playlists.

Gizmodo reports that the Rhapsody app only streams (WiFi and cellular) at 64Kbps. If true, I hope this foreshadows Spotify-eqse iPhone song caching… enabling us to take our good stuff onto WiFi-less planes. In other low fidelity news, I noticed the album art isn’t of the highest quality (see below) and artist information is surprisingly less complete than Slacker. But, having played with the app a few hours, I’ve quite enjoyed mucking about in their deep catalog of tracks – Real Rhapsody quite competently fills Apple’s music subscription void. (This pretty much negates the primary reason to pick up a ZuneHD over an iPod Touch.)

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13 thoughts on “Real Rhapsody Hits The iPhone”

  1. I have an inquiry in with their press firm asking if that’s accurate and in all cases (or just over a cellular connection). I believe Pandora, for comparison, streams 128Kbps over WiFi. For someone who already has a Rhapsody subscription, the $2/mo iPhone subscription premium is still probably worthwhile.

  2. Just heard back from Real… they’re looking at bumping that in a future release, as well as the possibility of enabling some sort of local storage. If they can pull that off, the app (and pricing) becomes much more compelling.

  3. $15 dollars a month? I thought Rhapsody only cost $10 for their subscribers. If Apple is making their iPhone customers pay extra to buy music from someone else how is this not an anti-trust violation? Considering that they own the lion’s share of digital music sales, this seems really shady. Is Apple the one requiring the extra money for the app or is Real just getting greedy and fleecing iPhone customers while they can?

  4. This requires and additional charge over the standard charge in order to use Rhapsody to go. But as I understand it, to go enables users to carry content on devices other iPods to be listened to offline, so I’m not sure why they would charge that for this streaming service. I’ll stick to my Sonos at home and PC at work.


  5. Davis, Rhapsody has a different licensing model than Apple’s iTunes sales or Slacker/Pandora’s automated streaming selections. The non-mobile packages are $13/mo and support multiple devices, whereas the mobile packages that include downloads (as long a you’re a subscriber) require that additional $2 fee. At launch, the iPhone doesn’t include the download option. All the monies are paid to Rhapsody and have nothing to do with Apple as far as I know.

    Marc, yah I’m not sure the current encoding is a deal breaker. The music sounded just fine (and comparable to other services) to my untrained ears for the type of casual listening most will use this product for.

  6. Disappointed to learn that you need the “to-go” feature. I pay 120/yr for “unlimited”. I think they need to rename that particular service tier!

  7. Be warned that you can’t go back to your discounted plan if you do the to go trial under your current subscription. The work around is to the trial under a different name/ email.

  8. My son recently got an iTouch with some birthday money and a little help from Dad for his good grades. We already used Rhapsody to go as he has 3 sisters and I am not buying that many songs. :D

    So I just setup one of our, already on our PC and serving 3 MP3 players, Rhapsody accounts on his iTouch and it all works fine and Rhapsody on the iTouch is not bad as an initial app.
    Looking forward to the updates and thanks Dave for the reporting on Rhapsody on iStuff – it let me know the iTouch was doable for my son.

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