So here's the thing. Today Spotify announced something that they apparently see as a "Great news, this is so cool!" moment, but which I see as an "Oh, I didn't realize that was how it works" moment. Here's the blog post:
Other Spotify users: did you know that the free all-you-can-eat buffet is only a six-month thing? I didn't realize that. After that time you can still listen to songs for free, but not as many as before. (Rhapsody used to have a similar listen-to-so-many-per-month-for-free policy, but recently I tried to listen to some tracks that way and I got 30-second previews, so that may not be the way it is any more.)
On top of all this, the new social features on Facebook will complicate our Rhapsody situation. Reportedly, soon Rhapsody will have some kind of integration with Facebook that resembles what Spotify has now. The problem is that since my wife and I share an account, if I link it with my Facebook, tracks will get scrobbled to Facebook if she listens to them even if I'm not around. I don't want that.
I also use Last.fm (say hi if you do too: http://www.last.fm/user/TulsaMJ), and Spotify also scrobbles there. Rhapsody does not scrobble to Last.fm natively like Spotify does, although I've found a way to make that happen (usually). My workaround works by scrobbling tracks from the Rhapsody RSS feed, so I have to be on a computer or at least have a computer running in order for it to work. And I still want to scrobble everything to Last.fm - my media player that I use with my own MP3s scrobbles there, and actually, since Spotify doesn't seem to scrobble tracks that aren't on Spotify to Facebook at all (although it does scrobble them to Last.fm) - quite possibly when Last.fm gets their Facebook Open Social application working, I'll turn off the scrobbling in Spotify and just use Last.fm for all of it. It sure would be nice if Rhapsody supported native Last.fm scrobbling like Spotify does!
So let me get to the point. For ten bucks a month, I could get my own separate Rhapsody account going. It won't scrobble natively to Last.fm, so if I play songs on a cell phone they won't scrobble, but it should scrobble to Facebook once they've got that running (should be pretty quick... they're one of the "media partners" Facebook keeps trumpeting about). That would allow me to listen to music on portable devices and on my computer, and it would also eliminate the problem of getting my wife's plays scrobbled to my Last.fm and my Facebook. This would also allow me to downgrade my wife's account, which now supports three portable devices, to the cheaper one-device version:
OR, for ten bucks a month, I can subscribe to Spotify. I can listen on portable devices, scrobble to Facebook and natively to Last.fm, but I don't have the option of using tracks on my non-connected portable device. The added bonus is that the PC client for Spotify works better than the comparable Rhapsody application:
The services' music offerings are pretty comparable - I haven't run into music on one that I couldn't find on the other, although I know Rhapsody does have exclusive content (interviews and stuff) from time to time and I believe Spotify has their own exclusives of the same nature. I see them as a kind of Coke and Pepsi comparison: they're both dark colas that cost about the same and will quench your thirst, and it's a matter of which one you like better. For me, if Rhapsody had native Last.fm support, it would be the obvious choice; if Spotify had support of downloading music to non-connected devices, it would be the obvious choice. An added benefit of Rhapsody is that if you are on a computer that doesn't have their client software installed, you can still log in and play tracks using their Web interface - try THAT with Spotify!
What do you think? I'm interested in any opinions, differences you notice in the $9.99 plans of the two, advice or comments. If you'd like to visit me on Spotify, here's my public profile: