Rhapsody MP3 Store: Some Contrasts

Today’s story that Rhapsody is launching an MP3 store alongside its subscription service (which is still very much the focus of rhapsody.com) presents some interesting contrasts. The obvious contrast is the one between buying your music and subscribing to it. I suspect that the modes of accessing music are more complements than they are substitutes, but the question deserves its own post (and this isn’t it).

Although today’s Rhapsody news is similar to the Napster news of about 5 weeks ago, there is a key difference. Free is that key: Rhapsody are giving away a free album download to the first 100,000 to sign up. Yes that offer is available to people who already pay for Rhapsody’s subscription service: I got mine.

I first saw the news about the MP3 store and the introductory offer in a post by Mashable Kristen. There are a couple of contrasts with Kristen’s post. One is there was a timely post at Mashable, whereas there wasn’t at the Rhapsody blog.

last100 also carried a post, by Steve O’Hear, about the Rhapsody store. Steve himself focuses on some points of contrast, or differentiation, for the new store. I’ll point out a couple of contrasts between his post and Kristen’s.

The most obvious is that Kristen’s was hours earlier. Perhaps this is why it seemed hasty. I’m not just referring to typos, but to misleading things such as Rhapsody’s: (1) “newly established relationship with RealNetworks” and (2) “converting its entire catalog to DRM-free music.” (1) the relationship is far from new. (2) the first few times I looked in the new store for an artist I’ve enjoyed via subscription, I drew a blank. Some of the artists in question are: Laura Marling; Bon Iver; Fionn Regan.

While I’ve so far emphasized contrasts, there are some ways in which the song remains the same. The first comment on Kristen’s post is that the Rhapsody store is US-only. When it comes to music, it seems that the real world-wide web is BitTorrent.

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