Music Information

Is Rhapsody Music Downloads Service Getting A Good Rhap?

Rhapsody music, from RealNetworks is one of several reputable legal digital services for legal music downloads. In order to download online music or hear songs from them you have to pay for them first. In Rhapsody's case, the cost is $9.99 per month after a 14 day free trial (the cost may reduced if you purchase it quarterly). Along with Rhapsody, these also include iTunes, Musicnet, Musicnow, wal-mart downloads, and the newly revived Napster.

The Rhapsody music service consists of over 1.2 million music downloads tracks in its catalog, thanks to nitching deals with all five label giants and over 500 independent labels.

Its fully-featured jukebox that makes Rhapsody music downloads searches a snap and importing tunes from, let's say, a CD easy. Other elegant features include the ability to incorporate different files such as MP3, WMA, AAC (M4A), and RealAudio to your main Library. And you can mix these files in the library any way you like and develop different playlists after you import tracks and/or stream or download online music.

I'm very sure that the Rhapsody music downloads service will only improve with time.

So how did it all start?

Well, we need to rewind the clock some four years ago...

During that time iTunes did not exist, and Napster's outlawed ancestor had reached its demise a few months prior. Nonetheless, there was... drumroll... Rhapsody.

While part of, the Rhapsody music downloads service was launched in December 2001. It wasn't until July, however, that songs from all major labels became part of its diverse catalog. RealNetworks acquired in August 2003. After thus changing the name to RealRhapsody, the service regained its classic title, "Rhapsody".

Downloading the software is fairly straight forward. Be advised, however, that this software is not Mac compatible. The music downloads and streamed tracks from Rhapsody are compatible with Windows Media devices which, of course, are only found on Windows PC's and compatible portable devices.

The interface consists of your simple Play, Stop, etc. functions on the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Next to this is track information including: the title, the artist, and the album. A brief bio plays to the right of the track interface.

So how do you search for your favorite artist or song? Easy... just type it in the Search bar and press "Go". Once you have found your song, you usually can INSTANTLY play it without downloading it - i.e., you can stream it. In some cases, you can automatically download online music while you listen to the stream. Note: sometimes when you press play, a "!" will appear in a triangle meaning that the stream is unavailable. In this case, you need to press the "+" sign. This adds the track to your Library where you can access it from there and add it to your playlist in the form of music downloads.

That said, the streams are of such excellent quality it seems the song is already downloaded on your computer.

If you don't want the song to be played immediately (such as if you're in the middle of listening to another song) you can just press the "+" sign to the left of the song title. Again, this will automatically store the song to the main library. In order to bring it to the playlist, you will have to open up the Library first and then drag the song to your playlist, much the same as how you would do with any other digital music downloads service.

If your library is large, don't worry. The library search tool is similar to that of iTunes - very easy to find your tune or artist in order to stream or download online music.

OK. So these are some of the handy-dandy features of Rhapsody. But do they contribute to a pleasant experience for music downloads fans?

Stay tuned for my next article...

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