Rhapsody’s Windows Phone app gets an offline facelift…and more!

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Windows phone owners rejoice!  We’ve been working on some improvements and added features to give you an even better music experience while you’re on the go. If you have a Windows phone download the app (or update) today.

Offline Playback

Taking your music with you got a whole lot easier.  Now you can download albums, songs and playlists to your phone and listen even when you don’t have a connection. Your next commute, plane trip or subway ride just got a bit more melodic.

Music Library

We revamped your music library (My Music) so you can easily add or remove tracks and albums, and even add music while it’s playing. You’ll find the same collection of music in your library whether you are accessing on the web, on a home audio device or your Windows phone.

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We also added in better functionality to genres, so you can explore those in depth with stations, new releases and top tracks.

Plus there are some behind the scenes improvements you may notice with search, enhanced visual display of Rhapsody radio stations and more album images.

We also want to thank all our beta testers who provided some fantastic feedback while playing with the new app. They were excited and impressed, so we hope you are too.

Stream Rhapsody on your Roku

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Rhapsody is announcing today that it will soon be available on Roku. The leading premium on-demand music service has teamed with the market leader in streaming entertainment devices for the TV. The result? Naturally, it rocks.

Roku is the latest device in the living room to receive Rhapsody connectivity. In the last several months, Rhapsody has also added Xbox and most major SmartTV manufacturers.

Like all Rhapsody platforms, the Roku channel will allow users to lean forward, accessing Rhapsody’s entire catalogue of more than 16 million songs, to search for and play songs, albums and artists. Or lean back, enjoying playlists and preprogrammed genre and artist radio stations.

Rhapsody Launches Music Apps Strategy with Rhapsody SongMatch for Android

The on-demand music service is developing a suite of apps to make music discovery more fun and convenient

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SEATTLE—December 5, 2012—Rhapsody kicked off its mobile utility apps strategy today with the launch of Rhapsody SongMatch™, a new free application that allows music listeners to discover music with one click.  Rhapsody SongMatch ™ uses your phone to listen to the song that is currently playing – in the background, on the TV, in the car, café or wherever – and identifies the artist, song name and album for music fans to match, store and share.

Free to download and use for anyone, Rhapsody subscribers can also listen and download full tracks of matched songs or dive deep into the album, artist catalog or discover similar artists. For convenience, all matched songs are automatically stored and saved as a playlist for future access.  Non-subscribers can also start a hassle-free Rhapsody trial.

“Our customers are music lovers who tell us they use a variety of mobile apps to solve their listening needs and discover new music,” said Paul Springer, senior vice president, worldwide product and design, Rhapsody.  “But they get frustrated with advertisements and the lack of full playback. We built Rhapsody SongMatch to seamlessly integrate with our core experience to connect the fun and convenience of mobile apps with full on-demand playback for both subscribers and new customers.”

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The company is working on additional purpose-built music apps that are free and complementary to Rhapsody’s premium on-demand music service.

“SongMatch is a great way to introduce new music fans to Rhapsody,” said Springer. “We’ll continue to focus on using over a decade’s worth of experience to solve customer challenges in discovering and playing the right music, right now.“

Rhapsody teamed with the metadata mavens at Gracenote to power the music recognition feature of SongMatch. The Gracenote technology works by “listening” to a few seconds of a song and matching it to its unique audio fingerprint in the Gracenote database.  It takes only a few moments for the Gracenote technology to recognize the artist, track and album, letting Rhapsody subscribers to quickly add music to their library and playlists.

Rhapsody SongMatch is available on Android with other platforms launching in the future. It is available in the Google Play Android store or Amazon App Store.  For more information, visit http://www.rhapsody.com/songmatch.


About Rhapsody

The Rhapsody® digital music service (www.rhapsody.com) gives subscribers unlimited on-demand access to more than 16 million songs, whether they’re listening on a PC, laptop, Internet connected home stereo or TV, MP3 player or mobile phone. Rhapsody allows subscribers to access their music through mobile phones from Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS, through Rhapsody applications on the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, RIM BlackBerry,

Windows Phone 7 and Android mobile platforms as well as through devices from Vizio, SanDisk, HP, Sonos and Philips.  Rhapsody is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in Frankfurt, London, Luxemburg, New York and San Francisco. Rhapsody, and the Rhapsody logo are registered trademarks of Rhapsody International Inc.  Follow @Rhapsody on Twitter and keep up with the latest on the Rhapsody Facebook page.

Where’s Taylor?

So the new Taylor Swift album, Red, is not available in Rhapsody. The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve already noticed. You’ve asked yourself, “Why can’t I stream this new album from one of my favorite artists on a service I’m paying for?” Here is your answer: Taylor Swift and her management made a decision not to make her new album available to Rhapsody’s million-plus subscribers for several months. It’s that simple. Except it’s not. At all.

Because let’s face it: Taylor Swift is not about alienating her fans. At Rhapsody, we count stuff, and we know we have hundreds of thousands of subscribers who listen to Taylor; we know that many of you are diehard fans who attend concerts, buy T-shirts, all that stuff. Is Taylor mad at you/us? I don’t think so. At all.

But like I said: not simple. Lemme do my best to explain; we’ll start with some basics: Rhapsody pays for every single time one of our members plays a song. The money we pay out goes to the people or companies that own the copyrights to the music: labels and publishers. From there, the money flows down to the dozens and sometimes hundreds of people who make it possible for you to enjoy music: songwriters, producers, engineers, performers, back-up singers, etc., right on down to the guy who sweeps the floors at the recording studio. The way this used to work is an artist would sell a piece of plastic called a “CD”, and regardless of whether you listened to that CD a hundred times (The Beach Boys!) or only once (The Fat Boys?), all those folks would split the cost of that piece of plastic, and that worked out just fine. Lately, instead of paying for plastic (or vinyl), a lot of us started paying for downloads, except of course for the millions of folks who didn’t pay anything at all; those folks really made things complicated.

So enter Rhapsody. We don’t deal in downloads and we’re certainly not free — we deal in 10 bucks a month for unlimited streaming of every song. Which may mean less money for any one specific artist in the short term, but again: We pay rights holders for every stream. This means that if you’re still streaming Red a year or even five years from now, the money’s still flowing down the, er, stream. We think this is a pretty good model: Doesn’t it seem fair that artists get paid each time you play their song, every time you play their song, rather than a single time when you pay a buck for it?

We believe the answer is…Yes! We believe the cumulative impact of all those streams over all those years will outweigh and outlast the impact of a single download. We believe that the model of access over ownership provides a level of convenience and accessibility that facilitates an unprecedented degree of music discovery — encouraging you to experience artists and genres you’d never knew to be so amazing, to engage with music you might never have heard of, let alone actually heard, were it not so effortless to do so. Most of all, we believe that more people listening to more music more frequently is better for everyone. We believe that, we want Taylor and artists like her to believe that, and if there’s anything standing in the way then we want to figure out a way to get past it.

That’s why I wanted to write this note to all of you. I’ve been at Rhapsody for six years, and I know that access over ownership is the future of experiencing music. The joy I’ve felt during all these years of music discovery has honestly enriched my life, and I want everyone to feel that, and the only way that works is if artists aren’t just tolerant of streaming, but vocally in favor of it. So let’s start the conversation and let’s hear everyone’s voices. Let’s post and Tweet and comment and just generally discuss this. And let’s let Taylor know how much it would mean to all of us to have her latest on Rhapsody, and, uh, let’s use this hash tag, because that’s what people do: #wherestaylor

Thanks for reading, thanks for listening,

Garrett Kamps (@gkamps)
Sr. Director, Content Programming
Rhapsody

Artist Compensation: Personal Responsibility, Not a Cultural Trend

The Internet is buzzing from Saturday’s post by an intern at NPR who said she never owned music, much like others in her generation:

I am an avid music-listener, concert-goer, and college radio DJ. My world is music-centric. I’ve only bought 15 CDs in my lifetime. Yet, my entire iTunes library exceeds 11,000 songs.

But when she said she’d pay for “convenience,” the music-savvy folks at Seattle Weekly said, “Quick, Somebody Tell NPR About Rhapsody!

Rhapsody was founded to provide a legal alternative to file-sharing, and it remains central to the company’s ethos and business practices.  We’ve commented that paid streaming services are the only means by which artists can be compensated for every play, and that we work diligently to ensure that revenue flows to all the rights holders. Unfortunately, the preponderance of free legal services as well as of those whose legality is more questionable, have clouded perceptions about streaming and what it means to artists.

It is a complicated issue, but Cracker/Camper VanBeethoven frontman/professor/crusader for artists David Lowery breaks down the emotional, ethical and business arguments in an eloquent post on his blog, The Trichordist, by reminding us that we are all responsible. You can’t just blame the labels, claim that artists are rich anyway (Lowery cites the average musician’s income at $35,000 per year) or jump on the “free culture” bandwagon.

…fairness for musicians is a problem that requires each of us to individually look at our own actions, values and choices and try to anticipate the consequences of our choices.

…Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy “fair trade” coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly.  Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that  certify they don’t use  sweatshops.  Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China.  Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples.  On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation.   Except for one thing.  Artist rights.

By paying for music, you are showing your support for artists and the industry who depends on them for its vitality. You’re also paying for the convenience of a service that makes it easy to discover, access and play the music you love, on your favorite device, anywhere you are. We take this  very seriously at Rhapsody, which is why we offer a premium service–with original editorial content, music discovery tools and availability on the most devices– to our subscribers, which will keep the revenue coming to artists. We all are responsible for the health of the music industry.  Expect to hear more on this topic, but in the meantime, read David’s post. I’ve even made you a soundtrack.