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[P]
Rhapsody in Brew

By kzinti in Media
Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:44:37 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

In late 2001, listen.com launched its Rhapsody streaming music service, primarily featuring the catalogs of a handful of independent labels. Since then, listen.com has frequently reformulated and refined Rhapsody, including the addition of the five major record companies: Bertelsmann, EMI, AOL Time Warner, Vivendi, and Sony. Late last year, Rhapsody began allowing its users to burn some of its content to CD for a per-track fee. Just this month, listen.com slashed Rhapsody's monthly and per-track fees to half their usual cost, in a one-time promotion to attract new costumers. (For a short time, Rhapsody access was free for listen-only access, but that promotion has ended.)

One of the new customers Rhapsody signed was me. I wanted to see what the service was like, whether their catalog covered my favorite artists, and whether they were really going to let me burn an audio CD that would work in any CD player. Not really trusting the record companies, because I don't believe they really trust me, I expected to find that the any CD I created would be protected by some kind of Digital Rights Management that would only let me play it one PC, and only for as long as I was subscribing to their service. What I learned is that although their service is buggy, incomplete, and inconvenient, it is not yet beyond repair.


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Why Not P2P?

First let me answer the obvious first question: why not Kazaa? Or Gnutella? Or one of the other peer-to-peer file sharing networks? I've used the P2P networks since the Napster days. I have Limewire, a Java Gnutella client, on my linux system, and I have Kazaa Lite installed on the Windows 98 partition of my notebook PC. Both can deliver lots of music, but they also have problems. The problems are largely the same with both, so I'll limit my comments to Kazaa.

There's no doubt that you can find a broad variety of music on Kazaa, including some rare tunes, but finding what you're looking for is a roll of the dice, and you're not likely to find everything you're looking for in one place. For example, I recently wanted to find a copy of the album "Buckingham Nicks" from the early seventies, recorded by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks before they joined Fleetwood Mac. (I was willing to surrender cold hard plastic to buy a copy of Buckingham Nicks, but evidently it's never been released on CD, and isn't carried by any CD retailer.)

I looked diligently, but it took me weeks to collect the entire album. In fact, I never did find the last three tracks; they were located for me by a friend who uses a P2P service I don't. The songs I did find came from a variety of different users, and varied tremendously in quality. Most of the mp3s were encoded at 128Kb/s, and a couple were encoded at 160Kb/s. One was recorded from an LP full of scratches, clicks, and pops.

Another problem with Kazaa is that, although you can find some rare tunes there, you're still largely at the mercy of what is popular. If you want the latest hit tune by Manufactured Boy Band, you're probably going to find hundreds of copies. If, on the other hand, you want to collect a copy of, say, the Stone Poney's second album, you're out of luck - although you will find dozens of copies of the one hit song off that album.

Downloading a single mp3 from Kazaa often takes hours. I connect to the Internet over a dual-channel ISDN connection, which is fast enough to download most mp3s in less than ten minutes, but my downloads always take much longer than that. My guess is that this is because the P2P clients at the other end of the connection are swamped with connections, and thus dividing their bandwidth too thinly, or because the other users are throttling down their outgoing bandwidth. Regardless of the reason, the effect is that I always have bandwidth to spare, even with two or three simultaneous downloads going. The rate I typically see with Kazaa is 1 to 2 kilobytes per second.

Finally, many tracks I download from Kazaa have problems. Many are truncated. Others have audible ripping or encoding glitches. Some are mislabeled. Again and again I have downloaded a song only to discover that it's not what I want, that it's incomplete, or that it's so garbled I can hardly listen to it.

Of course, the problems I've listed are just the technical issues. I'm not going to talk about the ethical issues with P2P networks, because not everyone feels the same way about them. I'll just say that I would prefer to pay for the music I download. That's one of the things that led me to try Rhapsody in the first place.

Using Rhapsody

To use Rhapsody, you have to download and install an application that's part streaming audio client, part CD-R driver, and part web browser (it appears to embed Internet Explorer). You also have to sign up for the Rhapsody service. It normally costs $9.95 per month, and $0.99 per track you burn to CD, but with the current promotion, the monthly fee is reduced to $4.95 for the first three months of service, and until the end of March the per-track burn fee is $0.49.

The Rhapsody application includes a web browser pane that you can use to browse the content available at listen.com. You can look though the music by category and artist, or you can search for artist names, track titles, or album titles. Each artist's page is cross-referenced to show contemporaries, influences, and followers. The content is well-organized and is presented in logical fashion.

Beside the browser pane is a playlist pane, showing both a hierarchical list of artists, albums, and songs in your personal "collection", as well as the songs in the current playlist. Above the browser and playlist panes is a media player pane, with the usual CD-like controls: play, pause, forward, back, and volume. The media play also shows the download progress of the currently playing song.

Rhapsody protects, or maybe I should say hides, its audio tracks so that when application is playing a song, there is no file associated with it the song. In other words, although the application is clearly downloading and caching the song's content, that file or buffer is hidden from you and is not available in any clear or direct way. The only way to keep a permanent copy of a song is to burn it to CD; more about that later.

The quality of the streaming music depends on whether you connect to the Internet over modem or broadband; the quality of the former is clearly inferior to the quality of the latter, although both are adequate for auditioning tracks or albums. I find that I don't need CD-quality sound in order to tell whether I like a song.

Rhapsody lets users connect to its service, listen to music, and burn CDs from any PC, unlike some of the for-pay services, which "node-lock" your songs so you can only listen to them on the PC where they were downloaded. Rhapsody even makes it easy for you to use the service from any PC by synchronizing your collections, playlists, and preferences with their server. This makes your personal settings available even on a PC you've never used before. And every Rhapsody account is protected with a password, so, assuming Rhapsody's security is well-implemented, you don't have to worry about someone else logging onto your account.

Any given song within Rhapsody may be at one of three levels of availability: it may be available for both live streaming and burning to CD, it may be available for streaming only, or it may be unavailable in either form. Rhapsody does a good job of clearly indicating which songs are at which levels. Those that are available for streaming have green buttons to add the song to your personal collection, or to play it without adding it to your collection. Songs that are also available for burning have an orange "fire" icon displayed by their name.

The number of artists and titles available through Rhapsody is disappointing. Some artists have nearly 100% coverage. For example, everything Neil Young and Crazy Horse ever recorded seems to be available for both streaming and burning to CD. Some acts are missing entirely, and have nothing available for either streaming or burning. In between these two extremes, there are many artists whose songs are available for streaming but not for burning.

I have little use for a song that I can listen to only while I'm connected to Rhapsody, and can't take away with me and enjoy somewhere else. I want music that I can burn to CD. (Actually, what I want is music I can transfer to my iPod, but more about that later.) In other words, I have little use for songs that aren't available for burning. They may as well not be there. For purposes of this discussion, then, I'm going to equate "Not available for burning" with "Not available at all."

That said, what I find most disappointing about Rhapsody is the number of artists and albums that are only partially available. Some examples: Nirvana has but one song from one album available on Rhapsody. The reggae dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson has recorded a dozen albums, but only one is available on Rhapsody, and it has a handful of songs missing. "Frampton Comes Alive" has an odd hole in it: "Jumping Jack Flash" is missing. This is the most maddening Rhapsody phenomenon: the album with one or two missing tracks. For this reason, it's a good idea to browse into each album and check it for completeness before putting on your burn list.

Many artists on Rhapsody will have entire albums missing. Often these are clustered together, a series of albums at the beginning or end of the artist's recording career. The prevailing trend seems to be that recent albums are more often available than are older albums.

Burn, Baby, Burn

Here's how burning a CD works on Rhapsody: first, you put your collection into "burn" mode, which shows only those tracks that are available for burning. Then you drag the songs, or the album, onto the burnlist (displayed in place of the playlist). When you're satisfied with the songs you've arranged, you click the Burn button, and the process begins. If you're using Rhapsody to play music, playback will stop at this point; Rhapsody can't play music and burn CDs at the same time.

The first thing the Rhapsody software does is to check the length of the songs on the burn list, to ensure that they will fit on a CD - Rhapsody does know about both 74 minute and 80 minute CDs, and will warn you to use an 80 minute CD if your burn list exceeds 74 minutes. After verifying the disc length, Rhapsody will ask for your password, even though you will have already given your password when the application started. The first password check is to connect to the server; presumably the second check is to prevent someone from walking up to an unattended PC and burning CDs on someone else's account.

Once your password has been verified, the download begins. If you're using a dialup connection, Rhapsody will warn you that the download can take several hours. They claim this is because they are downloading CD quality audio. I did some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations, based on my first couple of downloads, and I believe that the download proceeds two to four times as fast as it should if Rhapsody were simply downloading raw WAV or CDDA files. Evidently they are using some kind of lossless compression to shorten the download.

Three or four beers later, the download will finish, and Rhapsody will display an itemized list of the songs you've downloaded, and the total cost of burning the CD. To this point, your credit card has not been billed, and you can cancel the burn without having to pay. Once you click "Submit", though, your credit card will be charged, and you had better hope the burning succeeds.

You don't have to have any CD-burning software installed, because Rhapsody has its own embedded CD-R driver. If you have more than one CD-R in your system, Rhapsody will let you choose the one you wish to use, and will let you choose the data rate at which to burn the CD. If your CD-R doesn't have "BURNproof", the driver will also give you the option of doing a test run before burning. Rhapsody was able to detect the CD recorders in my system, both an old Panasonic SCSI unit, and a newer Asus ATAPI drive.

As with downloading tracks to play them, downloading tracks for burning does not give you access to an mp3, WAV, or any other kind of file that I could locate. In fact, I was rather surprised to see that my hard disk usage did not increase by several hundred megabytes during the download process. Again, this suggests that Rhapsody is using some kind of compression to store the CD audio.

How Well Does It Work?

The Rhapsody software has not worked well for me, in particular during the CD burning process. The very first time I tried to burn a CD, a Mark Knopfler disc, the software locked up twice during the phase in which Rhapsody is actually writing the CD. This is the last phase in the burn process, after authorizing payment for the tunes. I gave Rhapsody one more try, but if it had failed a third time, I would have simply uninstalled the software and canceled my membership.

In fairness, Rhapsody may not be entirely at fault. I was running Windows ME at the time, which been crash-prone from day one. I wouldn't use ME at all, except it was required by the software that came with my iPod. However, I now use Wine to run EphPod under Linux, so I decided to downgrade the OS to Windows 98 SE, to see whether it might make CD burning a bit more reliable. It did; since downgrading, I haven't had another failure while writing a CD.

The CD failures did give me a chance to try out Rhapsody's customer service. I immediately e-mailed them to report the lockups and to say that I expected to receive a refund for the two failed burns. I received an automated reply saying, in effect, that their customer service agents were swamped with requests for help and that they would get back to me as soon as they could. I never heard anything more, but several days later noticed that refunds had shown up in my account history. I'm glad that Rhapsody was able to give me a fairly prompt refund, but I would have liked to have been sent an e-mail when the refund was posted.

I wish I could say that running on top of a clean install of Windows 98 caused all the Rhapsody software problems to disappear. Unfortunately, many remain. Here are the notable problems:

Because it takes so long for Rhapsody to download music for burning a CD, the screensaver (I use the default screensaver) often activates. Sometimes, upon deactivating it, Rhapsody's displays appear trashed - full of gibberish - and the mouse won't work. Strange problems, but they don't appear to interrupt the download, at least judging by the LEDs on my modem. I always reboot the computer anyway, because with Windows garbled screens usually mean a total crash is imminent. Fortunately, Rhapsody keeps copies of the tracks that have already been downloaded in an on-disk buffer, so the download can take up where it left off instead of having to begin again at track one. This problem can be prevented by simply to turning off the screensaver and power-saving modes for the monitor.

Sometimes when downloading tracks to burn a CD, the download will stall. The software reports no error, but its progress bar stops moving, and the "RX" LED on the modem goes off. This could be a problem either with the client software or with the server, but regardless, it is extremely annoying. It means that you can't just walk away from the computer, and come back an hour or two later. If you do, you might find that the download is stalled at, say, 50% complete, and you still have a long way to go. Fortunately, this problem is fixed by clicking "Cancel" on the download dialog, and restarting the burn process.

One time I tried to kick off a CD burn, only to have Rhapsody tell me that the tunes I had selected wouldn't fit on a 74 minute CD. However, the time total displayed on the burn list was just over 65 minutes. I removed a five-minute track, bringing the total on the burn list down to about 60 minutes, at which the burn proceeded without complaint. This is perplexing not only because the displayed total was clearly shorter than 74 minutes, but also because previously I had been able to burn a CD that was 79 minutes long. I have only seen this problem once.

Several times I have had my PC lock up while simultaneously playing tunes in Rhapsody and browsing the Internet with Internet Explorer. It's possible that this is not strictly a Rhapsody problem, but a strange interaction between the two applications, or even a generic OS bug. However, the only time Rhapsody locks up while playing music is when MSIE is running at the same time. Regardless of which application is at fault, it's extremely annoying that the combination is so fragile.

What About MP3s?

As I mentioned earlier, I want my music in the form of mp3s so I can transfer them to my iPod. My iPod is about the only way I listen to music anymore. I have ripped and mp3-encoded the active portion of my CD collection, and have copied the lot to my iPod. (I do not make any of these songs available to others through P2P clients.) It's wonderful being able to carry around an entire record collection in my pocket, and I expect any music I purchase online to go onto the iPod alongside my CD collection. This is why it's so disappointing that listen.com doesn't trust its Rhapsody customers enough to give them mp3s.

Fortunately, once you've burned a CD, you can then rip it back to onto your hard disk just like you can with any store-bought audio CD. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find that freedb or CDDB databases can correctly identify any Rhapsody-made CD that contains the same tracks as its store-bought counterpart. I had erroneously believed that these databases indentified the CD based on some kind of tag embedded only on the stamped disc. Evidently the numeric ID that's calculated is some kind of hash based on the number, order, and lengths of the tracks on the disc. Regardless, it's nice not having to type in all that information by hand.

Of course, if you make a compilation CD, or put two extremely short albums together on the same CD, then the freedb lookup won't work, and you will have to type in the artist name, disc name, and track names by hand. This is also the case if you leave out a tune, and yet another reason why I'm irritated by the missing songs on some of Rhapsody's albums, like the missing track on "Frampton Comes Alive". I had to type in the information for that CD, an unnecessary nuisance.

It's a real shame Rhapsody doesn't trust its customers enough to provide us more direct access to its music, like mp3, ogg, or whatever your favorite format. If they did, not only would the value of the service go up for customers like me, but there are some side effects that would prompt some people to download, and thus pay for, more music.

Downloading mp3s directly is much more convenient than having to burn a CD, then rip the CD, and encode the tracks. That's a time-consuming process. Consider the time: first, having to wait an hour or more (on my dual-channel ISDN - twice as long on a conventional modem) for the audio content to download, then another hour or so ripping and encoding the disk. That's a couple of hours at least, and a two-stage process. Let me download mp3s directly, it takes me perhaps a quarter of the time, and it's a one-stage process: just the download.

But there's more: because Rhapsody forces me to burn a CD if I want a permanent copy of a song or album, Rhapsody limits me to downloading music in CD-sized chunks, and it forces me to attend the process. In other words, I can't ever kick off a single download of more than 80 minutes of music at a time, because that's the most that can be burnt onto one CD. Furthermore, I have to hang around the computer. Even if Rhapsody's downloads didn't tend to stall, I'd still have to be there when the download finishes, to click the payment authorization, and stick a blank CD-R in the drive.

Now, consider how this would change if Rhapsody would let me download mp3s directly: I'm no longer limited to 80 minute chunks of music. I can queue up and download as many tracks, or complete CDs, as my hard disk will hold. And if I don't have to manually feed CD-R blanks into the computer, I don't have to hang around at all. I can start a download, go to bed, then get up in the morning to find ten new albums on my computer, ready to transfer onto my trust iPod.

Which of these two usage models do you think will encourage people to download more music?

The Bottom Line

Is Rhapsody worth it? Will I continue to use it? Will I recommend it to others?

I'll start with the last question first: no, I won't recommend it to others. There are too many subjective variables in the equation; for some people, Rhapsody might be a good value; for others it will be a waste of time. I will tell people about Rhapsody - but I will also tell them about its many flaws, in particular its buggy software. That alone will discourage many would-be users, and rightfully so.

Is Rhapsody worth it? Another subjective question; to me, it's marginal. I don't mind the $0.49 per song charge; that's the most I would be willing to pay per song, but I don't mind it too much. The monthly fee, though, is money I shouldn't have to pay. I'm sure the argument for a monthly fee is that it's like paying for cable, or satellite radio: you can listen to it all the time, even if you're not downloading and burning CDs. But I'm not likely to use Rhapsody that way, and I resent having to pay the fee when I'm not using Rhapsody like a radio. And I'm absolutely not going to pay nearly ten bucks a month and a dollar per track to burn songs to CD.

My bottom line: Rhapsody just isn't there yet. The software is too buggy, and there are too many holes in their catalog. Of the twelve albums I wanted to find when I signed up for Rhapsody, only three were available for burning to CD. I have found other CDs to download, but for each disc I've burned, there's another that I wanted to burn but couldn't. Oh, and I don't want to hear about their problems negotiating catalog access, regardless of whether it's with some huge multinational, or some little independent label. I'm a consumer, and I want to consume. Don't tell me about licensing problems; just show me the music.

I will be dropping Rhapsody sometime before the fees increase at the end of March, but: fix the software, add mp3 format, fill in the holes in the catalog, drop the prices again, and I'll be back with credit card in hand and a long list of CDs to buy.

References

Listen.com Unwraps Its Subscription Service, Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service, December, 2001

Listen.com Adds CD Burning to Service, Liane Casasavoy, PCWorld.com, October, 2002

Online Music Sites Seek Paying Customers, Leslie Walker, Washington Post, February, 2003

Listen.com Discounts CD-copying Fee, Reuters/CNET News.com, February, 2003

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Poll
What's the most you'll pay for music downloads?
o Nada! Songz iz warez 21%
o $0.49 per track, but no monthly fee 53%
o $0.49 per track and a $4.95 monthly fee 11%
o $0.99 per track and a $9.95 monthly fee 0%
o Whatever they're asking down at Wal-Mart. 1%
o Frag me harder! 11%

Votes: 78
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o listen.com
o Listen.com Unwraps Its Subscription Service
o Listen.com Adds CD Burning to Service
o Online Music Sites Seek Paying Customers
o Listen.com Discounts CD-copying Fee
o Also by kzinti


Display: Sort:
Rhapsody in Brew | 66 comments (60 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
one thing that puzzles me (4.00 / 1) (#2)
by khallow on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:10:32 PM EST

You cite lack of variety as one of the reasons to move away from the P2P stuff, but that seems to be a problem with Rhapsody as well. What's the story on that?

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Not variety, but coherency (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by kzinti on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:27:52 PM EST

Because it's not so much a lack of variety as it is a lack of coherency on the P2P networks. On Rhapsody, if they have album X by artist Y, you'll find the tracks all in one place. On P2P networks you can sometimes find an entire album all in one place, but more likely you're going to have to piece it together from a variety of sources - and then you get bitten by the fact that the quality varies so much.

[ Parent ]
Poll write-in. (5.00 / 4) (#7)
by Anonymous 7324 on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:34:00 PM EST

No monthly fee, $0.50 per track for a PCM wave file at 16 bits and RedBook sampling rates, with lossless compression into FLAC/SHN/Monkey's Audio acceptable.

I'd also pay $1.00 per track for SACD-caliber audio tracks, provided the industry pulls head out of ass and makes SACD players/burners for the PC. (Currently slated soon after pigs fly.)

I'd pay a dollar for that (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by grouse on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:53:43 PM EST

No monthly fee, $0.50 per track for a PCM wave file at 16 bits and RedBook sampling rates, with lossless compression into FLAC/SHN/Monkey's Audio acceptable.

Hell, I'd pay a dollar for that. Just no monthly fees!

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs
[ Parent ]

Pricing structure (4.66 / 3) (#8)
by fluffy grue on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:35:00 PM EST

Yeah, $10/month + $1/track seems excessive. Most of the CDs I own have 12-15 tracks, which means that getting the complete album costs $12-$15, meaning it's not that much cheaper than buying the whole album (assuming mainstream releases), and for my musical tastes that actually ends up being more expensive in general. Especially since the main part of the cost of a CD is ostensibly for all the different levels of distribution, which Rhapsody is supposed to be cutting out, right?

Also, it's interesting that they're so oriented towards selling tracks to be burned onto a CD... the first thing I do when I buy a CD is to rip it to mp3 format to put it into my "jukebox."
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[

Per track pay could use some work (none / 0) (#26)
by JWhiton on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:39:38 PM EST

I hadn't thought of it before I read your post, but the whole per-track pricing structure kind of breaks down when you get outside of mainstream 3 to 4 minute songs.  One of the bands I listen to (Opeth) has songs that can easily average 10 minutes in length, so paying per-track on one of their albums would be a good deal for me.  My friend who listens to a lot of punk rock, however, might end up paying a ridiculous amount for an album of the same length since those songs tend to be much shorter.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, a very good point (none / 0) (#28)
by fluffy grue on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:55:46 PM EST

Somewhere between 10 and 25 cents per minute seems like a reasonable price.
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

Roll of the dice GOOD! (5.00 / 4) (#9)
by bjlhct on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:46:57 PM EST

The way to use P2P music apps is as follows - write down the artists you like in a text document, groups them by genre, feed the groups through google sets.

Now you have a bunch of artists. You feed each one into the search, and take the ones with interesting names, good quality, and large file sizes.

About half will go through. About half of those are good. You still have plenty.

How would you know if you like a specific song before hearing it? radio? But listening to the songs with playcount - 0 is just as good for that with this method.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Thank you! (none / 0) (#14)
by christonabike on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 05:37:13 PM EST

I had never heard of or used Google Sets before, though a simple Google search turned it up. Sure enough, I entered my five favorite groups in a particular genre and it spit out a total of 15 (including the original five). Sure enough, nine of them I already listened to. Of the other six, one I was familiar with and didn't like, the other five I didn't know, which I am now downloading.

[ Parent ]
Glad to be of service. Glad to be of service. (none / 0) (#19)
by bjlhct on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:06:57 PM EST

Yah, google rocks.

There were 25 google tools at my last count.

Do they need an MLP?

Anyway, hope you like that music.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

This could work (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by imrdkl on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 03:57:58 PM EST

For a bugfree linux implementation of their software, I'd even be willing to pay a monthly fee - so long as their membership stays on a month-to-month basis. At 0.50 per song, I suspect that most of their operation is based on the monthly fee, in fact. But eventually perhaps they'll license directly with the artists.

Good article, tricky title - I thought it was about beer at first.

the title (none / 0) (#30)
by kzinti on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 09:00:13 PM EST

tricky title - I thought it was about beer at first.

Yeah, I know the title wasn't perfect. It was supposed to indicate something like "Rhapsody in the making," but I knew a few people would mistake it for an article about beer at first glance.  I suppose I could have just called it "Rhapsody in the Making," but I just can't resist a good pun - or even a bad one.

Sorry 'bout that...

--Jim

[ Parent ]

's ok (none / 0) (#44)
by imrdkl on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 04:04:57 AM EST

I tried the same sort of thing in my comment. (bug-free linux client, willing to pay for the service and the songs, etc). Say, how about a $2.95/month subscription, or $25/year?

[ Parent ]
'Rhapsody in Blue' or 'I Got You Babe'? (none / 0) (#49)
by pin0cchio on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 12:31:26 PM EST

The estate of George Gershwin was a major sponsor of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Had the Bono Act not passed, "Rhapsody in Blue" by Gershwin would be public domain in the USA by now.
lj65
[ Parent ]
A couple of questions. (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by ti dave on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 05:12:29 PM EST

One time I tried to kick off a CD burn, only to have Rhapsody tell me that the tunes I had selected wouldn't fit on a 74 minute CD. However, the time total displayed on the burn list was just over 65 minutes. I removed a five-minute track, bringing the total on the burn list down to about 60 minutes, at which the burn proceeded without complaint. This is perplexing not only because the displayed total was clearly shorter than 74 minutes, but also because previously I had been able to burn a CD that was 79 minutes long. I have only seen this problem once.

Gee, I wonder what's being written to your disk and taking up that "extra" space?
Also, unless Listen.com diverts a majority of the revenue to the artists, then I'm not
interested in becoming their next Guinea Pig.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association

File sharing (SoulSeek plug) (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by mmsmatt on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 06:59:24 PM EST

I, like you, carry around all my music, but I use a 10GB Creative Nomad Jukebox2. Same concept. RoadRunner in my area is offering a six-month trial of their Rhapsody service, because of the hassle involved with MP3ing their tracks I think I'll decline and stick to SoulSeek.

Hey, there's a nice topic. SoulSeek is a wonderful P2P app, even has a linux port (using wxWindows/Python), and beats the crap out of Kazaa. IRC-like channels, doesn't "limit" your bandwith (Kazaa does), and generally I can download tracks at 220K/s+ on a cable modem. I can download entire albums, even Stone Poneys (someone is bound to have it in #Lobby or elsewhere, and "Search Files" rarely fails to find anything), in one night, using SoulSeek.

SoulSeek (none / 0) (#53)
by phuzz on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 05:10:23 PM EST

I have to agree, soulseek is great for finding obscure stuff.  And of course the more it gets a reputation for having less well know stuff the more people with varied music collections will use it.

[ Parent ]
Soulseek payment plug (none / 0) (#55)
by zakkenayo on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 10:16:43 PM EST

I have no affiliation with Soulseek besides being an extremely satisfied user, I just want to plug the 5$ monthly account upgrade. I upgraded a few days ago, and downloads start extremely fast now, there is almost no one waiting. So, if you are on the fence about soulseek, maybe give the 5$ a try for a month. joey

[ Parent ]
Coherency (none / 0) (#20)
by Andy P on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:08:53 PM EST

You mention lack of coherency as a prolbem with p2p, maybe you should try Emule. You can often download entire albums, or entire discographies, all ripped by one person. For example, awile ago I got Dream Theater's entire discography, about 1.3 gig or so in a .ace archive. Sure, it took awile, but what do I care, I set it to go and walked away.

There are tons of feature adding mods (yay for opensource), web based search engines, and Maurice's great server list.

Do yourself a favor though, and avoid Edonkey like the plague...

interesting (none / 0) (#21)
by Work on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:31:24 PM EST

I'm constantly in search of rare older electronic tracks and b-sides. Kazaa sucks - the only thing i can find on there is either popular or semi-popular. Otherwise its a crapshoot.

If they'd allow save-as-mp3, id go for it. Thats just silly you can only burn to cd - anyone interested enough to pay for this service knows how to rip from the CD (and probably will do it). This simple feature would save time and attract users.

expensive garbage!!! (none / 0) (#22)
by jungleboogie on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 07:55:34 PM EST

try emusic, it's $9.99 per month and there are no charges to do whatever you'd like with the music (except share it).  full albums of pure 128k mp3s.
http://www.emusic.com

been there, tried that (none / 0) (#23)
by kzinti on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:22:00 PM EST

I tried emusic last year, during one of their "100 downloads for free" specials. Their catalog was mostly small acts I'd never heard of - a few big names, but not nearly as many even as Rhapsody. I did download a bunch of nice stuff, though, mostly drool music: ambient stuff like you hear on Hearts of Space. Except for the catalog, emusic is a good service. --Jim

[ Parent ]
my thoughts on e-music (none / 0) (#46)
by vnsnes on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 08:12:15 AM EST

I am using Emusic as well and am really pleased with it. I told friends about it, but none of them have tried citing the scarcity of mainstream artists and availability of free, albeit, illegal alternatives.

You don't have to be a registered Emusic member to search their collection, so you can make a decision before signing up. As far as I am aware there is no limit on how much you can download other than your limited time and bandwidth, and their optional Windows client program makes queueing whole albums for download easy.

They have a feature that suggests an alternative if the artist you searched for is not found in their collection. I don't know how well this works. I never downloaded any of the suggested alternatives.

Their free trial requires a credit card to activate and requires active effort to cancel. There is an option on your user preferences page. It's not hard. If you don't cancel, however, by the time the trial runs out, you will get charged automatically, so beware.

[ Parent ]

only some songs available for burning? (none / 0) (#24)
by jonathanbearak on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:27:20 PM EST

check record under the master volume, open a sound recording program, click record.

they can't yet copy-protect raw output! (at least not until palladium rolls out)

You're likely getting 128kb files... (none / 0) (#25)
by BeefyT on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:35:00 PM EST

...because in most compression programs, "CD quality audio" is as low as 128kb/s (11:1 compression ratio). And the fact that they don't advertise bitrate means it can't be good quality. Rule of advertising: If they don't mention a detail, you can be sure that detail is unimpressive. I recommend taking a 192 song that's also available on Listen.com, and compare the two directly. 128 doesn't cut the mustard, for the prices they're asking. To be blunt, it's a crock. People settle for 128 because they can get it for free on P2P, and the majority of us don't have decent enough speakers to tell the difference. But if one had to fork over money, it better be for quality sound, even in principle.

You're assuming they even use mp3 (none / 0) (#27)
by fluffy grue on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:54:10 PM EST

There's restrictions on what commercial entities can do with mp3s, due to the Fraunhofer patent. (Technically, those restrictions exist for individuals as well, but Fraunhofer has given up on trying to enforce their patent licensing for individuals at this point.)

Also, different CODECs scale differently. Like, 128Kbps ATRAC sounds (IMO) as good as a 256Kbps mp3, but a lot of that is because ATRAC degrades much more gracefully than mp3 (as it degrades, it only removes frequencies, rather than adding in high-frequency components like mp3 does).

But yeah, your point remains; they're probably using a lossy CODEC at "good enough" quality for most people.
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#31)
by BeefyT on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 09:22:32 PM EST

I haven't heard ATRAC, but I've heard good things about it. I understand that's the compression used for MiniDiscs. Additionally, I've heard that Realaudio 8 actually encodes to ATRAC3 at higher bitrates, as low as 128Kbps

I imagine that if they are encoding with "good enough" algorithms, it's likely a customer service feature (faster downloads) since it shouldn't cost them any more to compress at higher quality. Either way, they should be clear on bitrate, and I found nothing on their website to indicate what they're doing to the files. I guess it's just us geeks that care :).

However, my guess is that they're going with ATRAC, if they have any brains at all. Fraunhofer would actually charge them money (God forbid).

[ Parent ]

ATRAC, or Ogg Vorbis, possibly (none / 0) (#43)
by locke baron on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 03:04:25 AM EST

Ogg is the other not-mp3, and would also be a viable solution, although it only sounds slightly better than mp3 at the same bitrate (*). I would wonder if they're using that, seeing as it's free and all. OF course, all this assumes they're actually using a lossy codec, and not something like Shorten or FLAC, but I think that given the download times stated, we can assume they are, and at not too great of a bitrate, either.

(*) - well, 128k+ Ogg doesn't sound much better than mp3, but <112k Ogg sounds way the hell better.

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]

Don't worry (none / 0) (#47)
by damiam on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 10:11:27 AM EST

If they were using Ogg, there would have been three or four Slashdot stories about it by now.

[ Parent ]
Good point (none / 0) (#57)
by locke baron on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 02:11:07 AM EST

In my own defense, though, I don't read /. much, so even if they did, I might not notice ;-)

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
ATRAC (none / 0) (#38)
by dachshund on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 01:05:30 AM EST

Also, different CODECs scale differently. Like, 128Kbps ATRAC sounds (IMO) as good as a 256Kbps mp3, but a lot of that is because ATRAC degrades much more gracefully than mp3 (as it degrades, it only removes frequencies, rather than adding in high-frequency components like mp3 does).

Really? A while back I spent a couple of hours at Sony Studios in Japan talking audio codecs with the more experienced engineers. There was a general consensus that ATRAC was among the poorest choices for audio compression, but Sony held on to it solely because of their investment in Minidisc.

IIRC, ATRAC is a fairly antiquated system that lacks a lot of the features of more recent codecs.

[ Parent ]

Define "a while" (none / 0) (#41)
by fluffy grue on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 01:14:48 AM EST

The current version of ATRAC (ATRAC3, used in the newest Minidisc players) is quite beefy. It supports 64, 128, and 256kbps, and even at 64kbps it sounds amazing. (On the minidisc decks it's called "LP4" as a marketing term.)

Also, ATRAC2 and later support forward-allocation, which is effectively identical to VBR with a fixed average.

And, again, it degrades very nicely.
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

Higher bitrates (none / 0) (#51)
by dachshund on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 01:02:09 PM EST

"A while" being 1999 or 2000.

I hear what you're saying about nice degradation at lower bitrates; that may be the case, and it's certainly a point in ATRAC3's favor.

However, we were looking for something that sounded decent at higher bit rates 128-192, and ATRAC didn't compete favorably with AAC, at least in the eyes of the engineers at Sony Music. There was actually some muted bitterness at Sony Corp. for pushing ATRAC3 as a company-wide standard.

[ Parent ]

Okay (none / 0) (#52)
by fluffy grue on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 03:42:30 PM EST

ATRAC3 didn't come around until about a year ago.
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#56)
by dachshund on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 01:25:17 AM EST

ATRAC3 didn't come around until about a year ago.

Don't know what you're talking about. All you have to do is google to find articles mentioning that Sony was developing ATRAC3 products back in early 2000. The article even mentions that they licensed it to Warner Music in March 2000. I remember being handed a Memory Stick player when I visited Sony Japan's HQ.

The point is, ATRAC3 has been around for several years. It was most definitely around by the time I'm speaking of. Whether or not you could pick up an ATRAC3 Walkman in Best Buy, well... that's a different issue, but the engineers I spoke to probably didn't have to go that route to hear the codec.

[ Parent ]

Ah, good point (none / 0) (#58)
by fluffy grue on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 01:47:17 PM EST

I keep forgetting that the development cycle on hardware is much longer than on software. :)
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

My little test (none / 0) (#54)
by driptray on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 09:43:28 PM EST

One of my work colleagues is an audiophile. The real deal type of audiphile, with a purpose built listening room, speaker cables that cost more than his speakers, and over 3000 CDs.

I ripped one of his favourite songs to WAV, and then made a number of different encodings from that file; 128, 192, and 320 kps MP3s. I then converted those MP3s back to WAVs.

So now I had 4 WAV files, all of the same song:

  1. The original rip from the CD
  2. The original rip from the CD -> 128 MP3 -> WAV
  3. The original rip from the CD -> 192 MP3 -> WAV
  4. The original rip from the CD -> 320 MP3 -> WAV

I then burnt a CD with these four tracks on it. I gave it to the audiophile, unlabelled, and asked him for his thoughts. He was to go home and play that CD on his whizz-bang super expensive stereo in his purpose built listening room, the same way that he listened to music every night.

He came to work the next day, and sheepishly admitted that he couldn't tell the difference between the tracks. He thought they were identical.

Notes: I used Exact Audio Copy (Windows) for the ripping, and variable bit rate Lame (Windows) for the encoding.

BUT, despite this test, I have noticed some very bad artifacts on some music I have encoded. The best results are for "natural" sounding music - acoustic instruments and vocals. It was this type of music that used in the above test. Music that has a more "treated" sound sometimes doesn't encode well.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Try a test on something more electronic (none / 0) (#59)
by fluffy grue on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 01:51:26 PM EST

mp3 is designed for natural sounds. Also, try a few different VBR settings as well; if you're using LAME, do it as lame -b 32 -q 1 -V $foo, using values of 0, 4, and 8 for $foo. Also, that gives you the side-effect of telling you exactly how much bitrate a certain song needs. (Which is the way you should do things! The music should dictate the bitrate, not the other way around!)
--
"Is a hyperlink" is a hyperlink.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

Cats: Nature's entropy generators

[ [ Parent ]

CODEC used (none / 0) (#62)
by bkeeler on Wed Feb 26, 2003 at 06:01:26 AM EST

Lots of rampant speculation in this thread about bitrates and CODECs could have been avoided simply by looking at their FAQ.

They use Windows Media 8 encoded at 128kb/s over a proprietary streaming mechanism.

Also, the transport is HTTP, so you can listen to this at work, no problem.

...until the word "Maudling" is almost completely obscured.
[ Parent ]

Compression? (none / 0) (#29)
by Gothmolly on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 08:57:50 PM EST

AFAIK, and as shown by some (admittedly) unscientific tests, WAV files don't compress terribly well, certainly not 4x. Perhaps you're getting 256k MP3s, instead of raw audio? Most people can't tell the difference, esp. played on (typically) crappy computer speakers/headphones. Wouldn't it behoove Rhapsody to compress their stuff to save on storage, shrink the backup windows, and save on bandwidth?

Good question (none / 0) (#33)
by kzinti on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 09:50:56 PM EST

I'm giving Rhapsody the benefit of the doubt that when they "CD quality audio", there's no lossy compression going on.  But yes, it's possible that they're foisting off some kind of lossy compression; I don't have "golden ears" and I probably wouldn't tell the difference, although I'm listening on decent speakers.  However, the quality of the mp3s I've made is good, and I think that the artifacts introduced by recompressing the audio would be something I could hear.

--Jim

[ Parent ]

It could be SHN or FLAC compression (none / 0) (#37)
by mveloso on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 12:29:18 AM EST

SHN and FLAC have gotten to around 40-50% compression on WAV files. Not as good as MP3s, but they're lossless.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but *never* near 25% (none / 0) (#48)
by srichman on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 10:41:28 AM EST

The author said he was seeing file sizes of 1/4 to 1/2 raw cd audio. As you say, the best lossless compression schemes (or, at least the ones that don't take a ridiculous amount of time to encode and decode) can't do better than 50%. This is corroborated by tests by the Monkey's Audio and flac people, and by my own experiences with flac.

So, even if they're using lossless compression, they must be starting with something that's not 44.1kHz 16bit stereo wave. This means it's highly unlikely that they're using lossless compression: Halving the bitrate of a wave (by dropping bits and/or samples) and then flac'ing it would sound a lot crappier than encoding straight to mp3 or ogg at 1/4th the original bitrate.

[ Parent ]

Out of curiosity (none / 0) (#34)
by djotto on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 09:59:19 PM EST

Do you have the software available to rip a track from a Rhapsody-created CD, and do a frequency analysis on it?

Lossy formats typically throw away the high frequencies, so you would see a sharp cut-off (for example, at 16khz on the mp3 I just checked) on a lossy file.

Let's experiment... (none / 0) (#60)
by kzinti on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 07:11:05 PM EST

Well, I'm not convinced at your explanation of the frequency spectrum of lossy compression - I doubt it's that simple.  Nevertheless, I think it would be interesting to conduct an experiment to look at the frequency spectra of the following:

1. A WAV file, as ripped directly off a commercial CD.

2. A WAV file, as ripped from a Rhapsody-created CD of the exact same track.

3. & 4. mp3 compressions of each of the above.

I don't have the software to run these tests, but I'll send you files if you'll run the analysis. I'll send you an e-mail to coordinate the exchange.

--Jim

[ Parent ]

Sounds good (none / 0) (#61)
by djotto on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 07:31:10 PM EST

Send a blank email to the above address and we'll sort out a transfer.

[ Parent ]
client only vs client/server (5.00 / 3) (#36)
by eudas on Sun Feb 23, 2003 at 10:11:18 PM EST

"Downloading a single mp3 from Kazaa often takes hours. I connect to the Internet over a dual-channel ISDN connection, which is fast enough to download most mp3s in less than ten minutes, but my downloads always take much longer than that. My guess is that this is because the P2P clients at the other end of the connection are swamped with connections, and thus dividing their bandwidth too thinly, or because the other users are throttling down their outgoing bandwidth. Regardless of the reason, the effect is that I always have bandwidth to spare, even with two or three simultaneous downloads going. The rate I typically see with Kazaa is 1 to 2 kilobytes per second."

this is because of the way networks are being built. they are being built with down=big up=small instead of down=up=someMiddleGround. consequently, the every-node-is-both-server-and-client model that the internet was designed to accomodate from its inception is being deliberately hobbled, and in some cases outright broken in the name of corporate profit. isn't profitprogress wonderful?

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat

How I find music I like (none / 0) (#39)
by sebpaquet on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 01:07:21 AM EST

First I go to the All Music Guide and locate an artist I like, then I find artists with similar "tones", using Google. For example, here's quirky, detached music.

Explanation here.
----
Seb's Open Research - Pointers and thoughts on the evolution of knowledge sharing and scholarly communication.

And for visual exploration... (none / 0) (#40)
by sebpaquet on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 01:09:38 AM EST

I use the Amazon TouchGraph Browser.
----
Seb's Open Research - Pointers and thoughts on the evolution of knowledge sharing and scholarly communication.
[ Parent ]
How to get great quality full mp3 albums (none / 0) (#42)
by razar on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 02:15:16 AM EST

There are other people out there who only want full albums at high quality ripped in a standard format. I used to use Soulseek to get all my albums till i discovered Ubershare. Ubershare is better because it enforces known standards that audiophiles have verified to be the best quality. Only full albums are shared. Check it out and come join one of the Direct Connect hubs set up for sharing Uberstandard mp3's. (Note, finding rare albums is not guarenteed but since you cant get on a hub without offering rips of cds, new cds are allways being added to the ubernodes)

I JUST FUCKED A SHEEP


AudioHijack = naughty (none / 0) (#45)
by Random Number Generator Troll on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 07:25:26 AM EST

Do they support Macs? If they do, OS-X users can save a perfect copy of the audio stream by running AudioHijack in the background, 'attached' to Rhapsody.

Total Recorder (none / 0) (#64)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Feb 26, 2003 at 01:51:14 PM EST

There is an equivalent package for Windows, Total Recorder. I haven't used it in a couple years but it was very high quality software then and I don't imagine it's gotten worse. One great feature is you can set it to only record when there is actually sound data being played. So when you record a protected WMA or something, the resulting WAV doesn't have any silence at the beginning or end.

One thing to remember, the streaming service is probably not great quality, even at broadband speeds. I'm sure it's fine for listening to at your work computer but I wouldn't want to grab tracks and play them on my stereo.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

How to recognize track names (none / 0) (#50)
by interjay on Mon Feb 24, 2003 at 12:45:46 PM EST

Of course, if you make a compilation CD, or put two extremely short albums together on the same CD, then the freedb lookup won't work, and you will have to type in the artist name, disc name, and track names by hand.
You don't have to type in artist/track names by hand: Download the tagger from musicbrainz.org. It will automatically identify your mp3s and set the ID3 tag and filename.

It might not recognize some rare songs, but it has an impressive number of tracks which is rapidly growing.

A happy Rhapsody user here (none / 0) (#63)
by bkeeler on Wed Feb 26, 2003 at 06:21:54 AM EST

I've been using it now for a few weeks. No technical problems of the kind described by the author at all.

My usage is clearly different though. I'm not focused on burning CDs or making MP3; I prefer to just use the streaming mode. I'm sitting at my computer for 10+ hours a day, so it's fine by me.

I find it great for just exploring new genres and artists. I'm not really into mainstream stuff, I tend toward Jazz and Classical most of the time, and I find the selection to be fairly impressive. It's nice to be able to browse through all the different artists, follow the links between them based on influence and so on, and just click on a song and be listening to it 5 seconds later. For short attention span types, it's great.

Just in case you think I work for them or something, I'll finish by suggesting that kzinti google for "Total Recorder" and see what turns up. Not that I'd do that myself, of course.

...until the word "Maudling" is almost completely obscured.

Suggest I WHAT??? (none / 0) (#65)
by kzinti on Wed Feb 26, 2003 at 08:08:10 PM EST

I'll finish by suggesting that kzinti google for "Total Recorder"...

Careful there, dude. You're flirting with a cease and desist letter from Google's suits.

This is about the third time someone has mentioned pseudo-devices that record an audio stream to disk. There's one big problem with this approach, and that's that it doesn't capture the original compression used by Rhapsody - and clearly there is compression, and almost certainly lossy compression, being used by Rhapsody in its "streaming" mode.

To elaborate, the codec inside Rhapsody is turning the compressed audio into an uncompressed format, because that's how you send audio to a sound card. And that's what your going to capture. Now, you could use this capture audio as-is, in WAV or similar format, and have an audio stream of the exact same quality as the original stream. The problem is that (a) the quality of the original stream may not be enough to suit you; its compression parameters are out of your control. And (b), the files are going to be huge: they're uncompressed.

So why not compress the captured stream with mp3 or ogg? Because you're adding a second level of loss to the data - more noise, less signal. The stream you captured is uncompressed, but it still retains whatever artifacts were introduced into it at the first compression.  Compress it again, and you're going to add more losses. Or worse, some types of lossy compression may not add, they may multiply the losses in the signal.

OK, I'm talking out of my hat in that last claim. I don't know it for a fact, but I believe it's likely.

And yes, I'm assuming that there's no lossy compression in the "CD Quality" audio Rhapsody downloads to burn. I'm taking them at their word that "CD Quality" means "lossless". I've listened carefully to the mp3s I've made from my Rhapsody CDs (using lame, 160 Kb/s, joint stereo) and they sound as good as anything I've ripped and encoded off my store-bought CDs.

Like you, I have seen few problems while running Rhapsody in streaming mode. Most of my troubles have been with burning CDs.

I'm glad you're happy with Rhapsody. I guess I'm happy too - a limited form of happiness. Now that I've learned how to coddle the Rhapsody app so that it's not quite so crash prone, I'm enjoying all the audio I'm downloading. I'll download a couple of albums per night, and keep at it for a couple of weeks, but I'll be long gone before they jack the rates up again.

Someone pointed out something I didn't think worth mentioning in the original article: paying for songs by the track means that some albums are a better buy than others. Download an old album by the Replacements or the Minutemen and you're going to get pretty much ripped off compared to an album like Yessongs where most tracks are over ten minutes. That's close to a ten-to-one value ratio!

So, what (rock, jazz, blues) album has the longest average track length? Help me get my money's worth!

--Jim

[ Parent ]

Getting and Keeping Rhapsody tracks... (none / 0) (#66)
by baron samedi on Sat Mar 01, 2003 at 03:46:15 PM EST

You can use anything that can record the output from your soundcard to record music from Rhapsody. I use GoldWave it's got features that I never use, but it gets the job done. I did this because a lot of the stuff you get from Rhapsody doesn't have the burn option, and I wanted some of that stuff because I wasn't having any luck with P2P on getting some things.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
Rhapsody in Brew | 66 comments (60 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
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