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Good-Bye Napster, Hello Rhapsody?

Updated on December 5, 2011

The Notification

Is Any Change Ever For the Better?

If you were a Napster subscriber, you received the email warning that they were being subsumed by Rhapsody. By instinct I knew the transition wasn't going to be as simple and seamless as promised ... and I was right.

I figured there were going to be a few snags, a few disappointments, but I wasn't prepared for what a shoddy job Rhapsody had done to prepare for the thousands of potential Napster subscribers.

$$ Options

Transferees have the option of trying out Rhapsody for free for 7 days or subscribing at $5 for three months (before it converts to $9.95). The $9.95 is around what Napster charged, so no one has to feel locked into the big switch. I opted for the $5 introductory charge. Anyone should be able to figure out whether Rhapsody is for them within three months.

Immediately Apparent Problems

Once you've signed up for Rhapsody via the email link, and actually enter the portal, you may be in for a surprise. While Napster/Rhapsody promised to import our playlists, they did not emphasize the number of tracks that Rhapsody could NOT duplicate. Maybe if your playlist consists of recent pop material, you will not see many shortcomings or screw-ups. But, if you are into folk, classical and fusion, you are not going to be real happy. Not only does Rhapsody seem to have a significantly smaller library than Napster but the playlist you created is now arranged by CD, and the tracks are thereafter listed alphabetically. The manipulation of playlists is nowhere near as simple as with Napster. You cannot drag and drop tracks into your playlist folders. Basically, all you can do is create a new playlist. If there is a way to merge playlists, I haven't figured it out.

Other Not-So-Happy Surprises

Without any warning my password for entering the portal stopped working. I tried calling Rhapsody's technicians, but gave up after 50 minutes of listening to some awful piece of music for the duration. You'd think that a music company would have people in the queue listening to a neutral radio station for some variety, but no. Rhapsody also offers "live chat," but you have to wait about 15-20 minutes for that to become active as well. The tech rep I got "seemed" to understand my problem and said she issued me a new password, as mentioned in the dialogue. What choice did I have but to take her word for it that the problem was solved. I should have kept her on hold because I tried the new password, and it didn't get me anywhere.

I finally tried signing up again from scratch. I got through the front gate and immediately checked my Account Status, which revealed that I was signed up for Rhapsody Pro at $9.95 per month. Is this really what will be charged to my credit card? Only my monthly statement will tell me for sure.

Thus, my transferee friends, be prepared for the worst. Maybe your sign-up process will be a breeze. Mine wasn't but there is little rhyme or reason here. My initial reaction to Rhapsody is so negative that I may not last the three months. I had been a subscriber with Napster for years, never felt entirely satisfied with their method of making select tracks on a CD unavailable, and I never felt their library of classical music was very impressive. But, my first reaction to Rhapsody is that they are even worse.

The solution for me may be to just buy one CD per month via Amazon. I can always rip the tracks into any number of utilities to create my own playlists. This is making more and more sense as I contemplate the eventual $9.95 per month x 12 months for just renting a fairly small selection of tracks that I listen to repeatedly.


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      HoneysOcelot 5 years ago

      Not all of the Napster subscribers received notification emails. I know I didn't. I'm lazy about deleting old message from the email account I used for Napster, so I've got messages from them going back to 2007 - nothing about the buy-out. I'm not alone in this and there are a lot of upset people.

      The issues vary, from Rhapsody not honoring existing subscription credits that were in our Napster accounts to people suddenly finding out that Rhapsody isn't compatible with their device. The worst part of it has been Rhapsody's attitude. Their position is that emails were sent (sometimes they say Rhapsody sent them, in other responses they say Napster did)and if subscribers didn't get them, tough. In the Rhapsody community support forum, they also have people called "Champs," who claim not to be Rhapsody employees, just "very knowledgeable" fellow subscribers offering to help, yet their sole purpose appears to be as Rhapsody cheerleaders. They repeatedly post about how they also had Napster accounts, in addition to Rhapsody (why?), and how they were notified, so we must have been as well.

      Reading the different threads, it becomes pretty clear that the Champs are saying what Rhapsody wants to say, without Rhapsody admitting that they're saying it. :-)

      I found this comment from a Champ spot-on in expressing Rhapsody's position:

      "mgibb CHAMP

      So let me get this straight. You guys are blaming Rhapsody for your own hardware failures and your own lack of backing up important information on your harddrives?

      How could Rhapsody be at fault? It was Napster that failed. Rhapsody stepped in to pick up their orphaned customers. Rhapsody didn't have to step in. Napster still would have failed and y'all still would have lost your purchased tracks.

      Rhapsody has different policies. No one is forcing you to remain customers."

      Very nice.

      Scroll through the topics yourself: