It might be longer in the tooth than any of the other “big five” music subscription services, but Rhapsody, with its 800,000 claimed subscribers, is still going strong.
Now, it’s doing something it probably should have done a long time ago: integrating more closely with Facebook and Twitter, the way most other things do now, and improving its radio service so that subscribers have more options for “leaning back” and listening to channels in addition to finding stuff to listen to on their own.
Not only will users be able to send out Facebook and Twitter messages about what they’re listening to on Rhapsody — a fairly obvious feature — but thanks to Facebook Connect, they can now see what their Facebook friends are listening to and listen to their playlists.
In addition to the sharing, other new features include a High Volume module on the profile page that shows whatever jams you have in high rotation and My Radio, which streams most-recently-played music from other people’s profile pages.
“Rhapsody members can now tap into a music community that is 800,000 members strong to share, recommend and find music,” said Rhapsody president Jon Irwin in a prepared statement. “Our subscriber base is composed of people who are passionate about music and who influence their friends’ music tastes. Now they can connect to and influence like-minded people on Rhapsody, while sharing their musical discoveries with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.”
Depending on what you need it to do, Rhapsody might cost more than the competition, at $10 per month for web, mobile, and home listening, or $15 to add up to three apps. (The others generally charge $5 per month for the web and $10 per month for devices.)
However, it has over 12 million songs, which is more than most, and also benefits from several years’ worth of top-notch writing from its editorial staff that started accumulating during the first dotcom boom. Also, Rhapsody borrowed a page from Spotify’s playbook with the addition of a 60-day “freemium” trial earlier this year.
Of course, you can’t talk about unlimited music services and Facebook right now without mentioning Facebook’s upcoming music plans (see also: MOG and Spotify), which it intends to announce one week from today according to reports.
When that happens, we expect Rhapsody to add the same features that all of Facebook’s music partners will apparently enjoy — possibly including the ability to join friends as they listen to a particular song, and definitely including the ability to listen to their friends’ musical activities later, even if they don’t share their their listening activity manually.
Stay tuned – next week is going to be interesting.