Streaming Music Prize Fight: Spotify vs Rhapsody
Spotify takes on Rhapsody and the winner is?
February 24, 2012 by EH Staff

Last summer celebrated European music service Spotify finally debuted in the United States, terrifying iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, and all the rest with its any-song-for-free listening model. However, the free Spotify version is riddled with huge ads, lower bit rates, and extreme time limits, so comparing it to, say, Rhapsody isn’t apples-to-apples. To create a proper battle, I pitted the unlimited-music, ad-free Spotify Premium ($9.99/month) against Rhapsody Premier ($9.99/month).

Song Selections
Both streaming music services offer 13 million-plus songs, so you’ll never run out of stuff to play (as long as that stuff doesn’t include live-streaming holdouts Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, or Metallica). To compare artist/album/song selection, I began by searching for artists on Spotify that I already had on Rhapsody, starting alphabetically. Disappointment didn’t take long. Hip-hop supergroup 213 (Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg): Not on Spotify. Same with downtempo electronica group 60 Channels. Okay, not fair to compare the services with obscure groups? How about Adele’s 21, one of the best-selling albums of 2011? Rhapsody, yes. Spotify, no.

Spotify offers 2 million more songs than Rhapsody, so what gives? Look up the Rolling Stones on Spotify, and you’ll be greeted with scads of albums you’ve never heard of, usually U.K.-only releases populated with the same old songs. So if you want every obscure version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” available, go with Spotify. If you want this year’s number-one album, go with Rhapsody.

Music Selection Winner: Rhapsody.

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