Rhapsody launches DRM-free MP3 music store | iLounge News


Rhapsody launches DRM-free MP3 music store

RealNetworks has announced the launch of a new iPod-compatible, DRM-free MP3 version of its Rhapsody music store. With a catalog of more than five million songs from all four major music labels as well as a number of independents, the Rhapsody music store will offer most albums for $9.99 and tracks for $0.99, and will offer full-length previews of songs, compared to the 30-second samples found on competing services such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. As part of a promotion to raise awareness of the new music store, Rhapsody is giving away a free album to the first 100,000 people who sign up for the store. The Rhapsody music store can be accessed at rhapsody.com/mp3.

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Wow. Full previews.

Turns out if you don’t have a rhapsody subscription you’ll only get 25 listens a month. I signed up out of couriosity (to get the free album), and they mention that giving your credit card gets you a free trial to Big brother 24/7 on superpass, but don’t give you further details… Hmmm… How do I cancel this trial??? I’ll have to look at that so I don’t get dinged.

Haven’t finished the download of my free album yet to report back on bit-rate, etc.

Posted by studogvetmed on June 30, 2008 at 1:50 PM (CDT)


I was excited to hear about yet another mp3 store out there until I saw Studogvetmed’s comment.  Real just about got back on my good side.  It’s too bad they ruin it by only allowing you to preview songs only 30 times per month.  What a joke!  Real really needs to rethink this option to be taken seriously.  I’d rather have 30 second clips of every song versus whole songs only 30 play counts per month.  I’m really skeptical that Real could make this model work.  I predict it won’t.

Posted by Phoenixfury on June 30, 2008 at 2:44 PM (CDT)


let’s take a look.
1. most folks don’t really care about the whole DRM issue so they will see the tracks as being exactly the same price as iTunes.
2. itunes has albums too. with jacket art booklets even
3. itunes has reviews and recommendations as well.
4. itunes has syncing linked into the system. so you can buy and leave the rest to the computer. if you are a mac user at least, with rhap, you have to download the zip file, unzip it, import it into itunes and then have the program sync it.
5. paid membership AND download costs. lets hide that on the back page. itunes is free to sign up for always, yes they ask for a CC but you buy itunes download cards and use those instead for paying.

i’m sticking to itunes and it’s punny 30 second samples.

Posted by charlituna on June 30, 2008 at 2:53 PM (CDT)


I wish iLounge would indicate when new services such as Rhapsody (among others) are only available to US residents - that way the rest of us won’t waste our time checking out these sites.

Posted by entogeek on June 30, 2008 at 2:54 PM (CDT)


oh wait, there’s more to read between the lines. there’s really two services. one is a kind of music rental. if you are on that and you quit, you lose all your music. and surprise, it only works on Windows and is not ipod compat. and if I’m reading the notes correctly you can’t burn the tracks. if folks aren’t careful, they will be using the wrong one and get screwed.

Posted by charlituna on June 30, 2008 at 2:57 PM (CDT)


You know I’ve tried it for prosperity.

I think it browsers better than Amazon.com MP3, but still not as good as iTunes. They are nice 256 MP3s. They come with album art, but it appears to be low 170X170 resolution art. When I added to iTunes, iTunes processed the files to get the higher quality iTunes art.

Valid point on extra steps to get into iTunes. Amazon came up with a solution for this with their application helper, perhaps Rhapsody will do the same.

I’m just counting the days for the labels to give up and make the playing field level and finish giving DRM’d free tracks to iTunes…. Charlituna is right that in the end most people don’t care about DRM, but at least they don’t until it affects them. I’ve met more people who end up with a bad taste of Apple in their mouth the first time they try to get their DRM’d tracks to a different player, etc. It doesn’t affect the majority, but the minority are always the most vocal spreading bad press.

It seems Rhap is trying to use the store as a front end to push their subscription service…. Might be a good model for some people, but it certainly isn’t for me.

Phoenix fury, you do at least get the 30 second preview when you are out of free listens, though it seems like I didn’t get any listens at all for some reason…

It’s no iTunes killer, but choice is good. I mean I wish iTunes had a better selection of DRM free tracks, but the Labels fear of iTunes store dominance has really taken some steps to breaking down the rule of DRM.

Now if I can just figure out the fine print on that “trial” for superpass….

Posted by studogvetmed on June 30, 2008 at 3:03 PM (CDT)


I scored a free album, and it downloaded the tracks as one zip file, so no additional software was needed.

Posted by Galley on June 30, 2008 at 4:16 PM (CDT)


@galley, yeah no additional software, just some extra steps.

Some people will prefer no extra software, some people will want it more streamlined. To each their own….

Did you get any information on this supposed “trial” we might have been signed up for when we set up an account with Rhapsody? I didn’t get any confirmation about signing up with Rhapsody at all… Hmm… Nothing in my junk folder either. Weird.

Posted by studogvetmed on June 30, 2008 at 4:38 PM (CDT)


5 million songs?  I searched for a couple of artists (admittedly, not Top 40 stuff, but still…) and got far fewer results than on any of the other stores I’ve tried (iTunes, Amazon, Napster).  I wonder what songs they *do* have?

Posted by MBTA3247 on June 30, 2008 at 8:35 PM (CDT)


Whoa…buying music from those folks @ Real Plaguer. Brings a shiver to me heart, yes indeed.

That said, there’s still nothing wrong with the concept of RENTING your music. After all, all those downloads of yours is really nothing more than just payments for licensing that music for your personal use. It’s not like you can actually RESELL any those paid for downloads, anyways, after you finally get sick and tired of those old tunes that you’ve listened to a quarter of a billion times.

Posted by flatline response on July 1, 2008 at 3:38 AM (CDT)


Yo studogvetmed, did you fid out how to cancel that Big Brother Superpass. I can’t find anything anywhere?

Posted by Jvance325 on July 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM (CDT)


I haven’t figured it out yet. I went to the superpass site and attempted to login with the same information I had for Rhap, and it wanted me to do a new signup, so my login info is not recognized… I’m going to try to email Rhap support about it….

Posted by studogvetmed on July 1, 2008 at 11:06 AM (CDT)


I went to this website: http://www.real.com/realcom/superpass/nowplaying

Clicked on “offer details” this gave me a link to “my account” which did allow me to login with my rhap information. I could find no details about any subscriptions or trials on my account, so perhaps there is nothing such as this on my account….. Going to continue doing some digging.

Posted by studogvetmed on July 1, 2008 at 11:11 AM (CDT)


Final Followup:

I called this number from their help: 1-866-585-4541

I had to get my account number by clicking on a link from their help page, where I signed in and got in, though you may be able to just get information from your email address you used to sign up.

The person could find no record of a trial connected to my account or email. To double check she looked up via my CC information. She confirmed that they had my card on file, but that no trials, subscriptions or anything were tied up to it.

I have a small feeling that the signup form may be a typo. That it actually should say they are taking the credit card information so that only one free album goes to each instance. It could be that their web gurus used the same form as the free super pass site…

So I would say if people who signed up for this did not get any email information about a trial to superpass that they do not have on… For piece of mind you may call the customer service. The person I got was foreign, but was very helpful, knowledgeable and not too hard to understand.

Good luck all.

Posted by studogvetmed on July 1, 2008 at 11:28 AM (CDT)


Thanks to iLounge for posing this bit of news.  I was able to get signed up in time and get the credit.  I just downloaded my free album.  No hassles at all.

Posted by superape on July 2, 2008 at 1:15 PM (CDT)

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