Rhapsody

Back in December of 2001, Rhapsody was launched. Rhapsody is a vast music service, based on online subscriptions. Users are able to stream music from their vast catalogue, but they can also choose to purchase 256 kbps CBR MP3s for sale. The majority choose the streaming option. Why you ask? Imagine having access to a catalogue of 11 million songs of various genres, whenever you want, for as low as $9.99 per month. Rhapsody allows you to listen to your hits, until your ears bleed. If they do, you probably just have your ear buds in too deep.

Near the end of 2010, Rhapsody for BlackBerry emerged from beta status. Over WiFi and/or 3G, you can stream until your BlackBerry cries “Enough! I can’t take it anymore!” or the battery dies; whichever comes first. Rhapsody gives you yet another option to consider when looking over various services that offer radio/music streaming. If you do use the WiFi music sync option to access music and playlists from your home library, Rhapsody is available with its library doors wide open. Are you curious to see if Rhapsody is music to your ears?

R & B also stands for Review and BlackBerry

In order to use the Rhapsody application, you need to be running OS 4.2 or higher. According to BlackBerry App World, the following models are supported: 8220, 8230, Curve 8350 85xx and 93xx series, Bold 9000, 9650, 9700 and 9780, 9100, Storm 1 and 2, Tour 9630 and the Torch. The most recent version of Rhapsody is 1.0.3.4, which has a file size of 1.2 MB. It is preferable that you use a device that is WiFi or 3G enabled; those who only have access to EDGE may not be able to receive calls when using Rhapsody.

Rhapsody currently playing

As I write this, I’m currently streaming the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, so I’m feeling rather “epic” at the moment (even though the image above is not Tron). Using either 3G or WiFi, I find the sound quality to be amazing; no break or distortion in the audio to be heard. Switching between tracks does take 5 seconds or so. I do not see an option to fast forward or rewind within a track, but you can choose to navigate to the next or previous track. As the music plays, the album’s cover art is displayed.

Rhapsody main menu

From the main menu subscribers have numerous search options available to them;

Search allows you to simply search through albums, artists and tracks using only keywords

My Playlists gives you access to any playlists (obviously) that you have set up. You can also check out other playlists such as; Label Spotlights, Celebrity Picks (such as the awesome Joaquin Phoenix’s Hit Mix) and Top Playlists.

New This Week will display new album releases for the week, in no particular order. Click on an Album to see additional information. You can see the track listings, a link to more content from the same artist, check out albums that are similar and yes even listen to the album (shuffled or not). I see the new Wiggles CD is available, so I know what my son will want to listen to. This section also includes Staff Picks; which aren’t necessarily new releases.

Rhapsody New This WeekRhapsody Album details

Charts give you a look at the Top Tracks, Artists and Albums. Under Top Tracks, you can play all or individual tracks (with the ability to shuffle). With Top Artists, you need to select an Artist to access related content. Within an entry, you can see links to Top Track, Key Tracks, view related artists or launch the Artist Radio Station; which plays music from the artist and similar artists. Also listed are singles, compilations and main releases. Under Top Albums, you have access to the more popular albums at the moment. The details within are the exact same as the ones I mentioned when I spoke about the New This Week section. Unlike the official Rhapsody site, there isn’t an option to read a bio or purchase MP3s of the artist.

Rhapsody Charts  Rhapsody Artist details

Rhapsody Radio is your portal to your favourite Stations. You can also check out the Top Stations or search through stations by Genre. Radio stations are ad free.

Genres allow you to discover your flavour of music. Rhapsody covers practically everything from R &B Stations to Folk Stations to even Comedy or Soundtrack Stations. Once you select a genre, additional link now lay before you. You can link to new or key entries for a specific genre, check out the charts and radio. You can also see a description of the genre, as well as subgenres (example: The Children genre has lullabies, sing-alongs and tv as subgenres).

Rhapsody Genre Details

At the bottom of the app, you have shortcuts to the home screen, the queue and what’s currently playing. I’m hoping that Rhapsody will eventually give users the ability to purchase tracks from the BlackBerry application.

Conclusion

If you have $9.99 per month available in your budget, you should consider Rhapsody as your source for superb access to music online. Streaming was spot on smooth and the search and discover options were easy to master. I actually discovered a few new artists that I’ve never heard of before. I’m hoping to see more information, such as bios and trivia, in future updates. Many other apps include this, but are not as easy to use. If you want to check out Rhapsody, they offer a free 14 day trial period. The $9.99 “Premier” package offers unlimited downloads on a single mobile device where the “Premier Plus” package allows up to 3 mobile devices. You can pick up the Rhapsody application for free from BlackBerry App World.


Pros

  • Unlimited downloads
  • Smooth streaming
  • Multiple search options


Cons

  • Cost (for some)
  • Limited ‘extra’ features

More information on Rhapsody from BlackBerry App World