I found out about Rhapsody’s mp3 store quite accidentally. I was doing some reading about Umphrey’s McGee’s “Jimmy Stewart” performances when I found a link to a Jimmy Stewart collection at Rhapsody which was all mp3. This was news to me. I was familiar with Rhapsody because Coke Rewards was affiliated with them since Sony killed off Connect. Both Connect and Rhapsody were lame as they needed special software and players to support their proprietary DRM media.
I had a collection of points going due to my Coca-Cola habit, and aside from burning points bidding hopelessly on a Canon EOS 5D camera I hadn’t found anything I wanted to buy or didn’t have enough points to buy and they got rid of the ability to convert the points into a BestBuy Gift Card. I was pretty disappointed in the Coke Rewards deal especially since Pepsi’s rewards could get you mp3’s from Amazon. I said as much in an online survery that mycokerewards presented to me recently.
So, as of June 30th, Rhapsody has mp3’s in addition to their DRM content! This is in a BETA mode so caveat emptor. I ran into my first issue with my first attempt to cash in some points. I found that they had Pieta Brown’s pre-One Little Indian catalog and I wanted to get that so I started with In The Cool. I happened to be sitting in an airport waiting to board a plane which was my first mistake. I cashed 225 points to get one album download and proceeded to check out. There are two ways to download the mp3’s: have the album bundled into a .zip file or use their downloader utility. I chose .zip. Well, needless to say they started boarding the airplane and I couldn’t finish it. So, I closed the lid of my laptop thinking that I’d be able to resume it.
Nope. As far as Rhapsody was concerned I downloaded the whole album except two tracks. I did a bit of searching on the ‘Net and found this BetaNews article which effectively describes the same problem. Rhapsody doesn’t allow you to re-download the album once they think you’ve got it.
So, I signed on with their support chat utility which effectively needed to hand me off to second-level support who issued me credits for the 10 tracks I didn’t get. This is a much better situation than described in the BetaNews article where they were out $22! This is the right thing for Rhapsody to do, I think, until they can get their software able to tell whether a download completed successfully.
While its software needs some fixes, it is great to have another source for mp3’s in addition to Amazon and eMusic. I plan to stick around as long as I’m collecting Coke points. One cool thing about Rhapsody is you can purchase albums without signing up for their subscription– unlike eMusic. For the next download I’m going to try to use their utility or at least wait until I have a dedicated connection and enough time to sit through the download.