Rhapsody looks to outshine Spotify, Pandora with site revamp

Summary:Rhapsody focuses on social integration with its latest site update, putting it in a better position to compete with the ever-growing pool of digital music services.

Rhapsody could be considered one of the members of the old guard when it comes to digital music streaming services.

Not to be outdated, Rhapsody has gotten some fresh updates to the site that focus on social media features. Some of the highlights include:

  • My Radio: An automatic playlist of 150 recently played songs that functions like a "sonic calling card" that could be used to provide recommendations and facilitate connections
  • Social networking: Users can connect with friends from Facebook, Twitter and Gmail to see what they’re listening to and share what they're playing too
  • Editorial content: Rhapsody has assembled a team of curators for designing playlists, round-ups and writing exclusive editorial content about classic and new artists
  • Speed and performance: The new, streamlined design is intended to make it easier for users to find find and play music, create playlists and search for new songs

"We looked at social as being the next ingredient that was missing from discovery recipe," Mark Keeney, vice president of marketing for Rhapsody International. Keeney added that Rhapsody developers built in a lot of these "lean-back experiences" as "13 million tracks can be intimidating."

Certainly these features can help Rhapsody attract music lovers as many listeners are probably overwhelmed by the large pool of choices when it comes to digital music lockers that include (but are definitely not limited to) Spotify, Sony's Music Unlimited, Pandora, Amazon's Music Cloud, Music Beta by Google and possibly even a new choice from Facebook later this week.

However, Rhapsody reps are fairly confident in the face of the competition that these new features will maintain a unique edge.

Keeney asserted that Rhapsody offers users more control of what they're listening to and a "greater opportunity for discovery" than Pandora does. As for Spotify, Keeney explained that along with the bonus of editorial content, there are more access points to Rhapsody -- especially in the living room with integration on Vizio HDTVs, TiVo boxes, and dedicated devices made by Sonos and Logitech.

With 800,000 active users and a music library that outsizes most of those offered by competitors, they do have a solid foundation. Accessing much of Rhapsody's content and features are free, and there it costs $10 per month for unlimited downloads to mobile devices and more.

Related:

Topics: Amazon, Google, Piracy, Wi-Fi

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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