Technology has come a long way in giving people new experiences and music lovers haven’t been left behind.
Previously, you had to download music and store it on your device if you wanted to enjoy it.
Today, music streaming services are getting rid of that and providing music streaming via apps and browsers.
You just have to create an account, start streaming music and this is any tune you want.
Depending on the streaming service, you can even listen to a song released so long ago even before you maybe came to this world.
Amazon Music Unlimited and Rhapsody are two of these streaming services, offering similar services but still in a very different manner.
Rhapsody was the first ever music streaming service and the only name that meant something in streaming music more than fifteen years ago.
While Amazon Music Unlimited is the latest entry in the music streaming world.
It might have come late to the party,but it has a few tricks up it’s sleeve.
Let’s take them head to head and see some of the differences between the two:
This is the single most important feature of any music streaming service.
If you are looking for an extensive and advanced music library, then Amazon Music Unlimited is the way to go.
The streaming service offers a massive library of more than 45 million songs with many more being added every day.
It also has multiple of stations in it’s catalogue including the expected Rock, Hip-Hop and classical genres.
When it comes to the music library, Rhapsody boasts of having over 30 million licensed tracks available at any time anywhere.
With Rhapsody, there is no limit to the number of hours you can play and with a Premier subscription, you can download songs to listen offline.
It is worth to note that most of the music streaming services have apps compatible with both the iOS and Android platforms.
However, Amazon Music Unlimited is compatible with most of the home audio systems and receivers as compared to Rhapsody which only has the desktop and app platforms.
Amazon Music Unlimited is available via Echo and Echo Dot speakers and is controlled via Alexa the virtual assistant.
You don’t have to keep on scrolling while you can tell Alexa to play the song you want.
You can also suggest or sing a song to Alexa if you don’t know the name of a song and Alexa will play it for you.
Echo owners can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for $ per month,but the subscription can be used on a single Echo Dot or Echo.
Design and User Interface
This is another essential feature in the music streaming services, since it is the user interface that dictates how quickly you can find and play all the songs you want.
The user interface is Napster’s (Rhapsody) biggest strength. It has the best and efficiently designed user interface on the market and the most intuitive one too.
The mobile app is just excellent. All the buttons are well aligned and the functions of each well understood.
The search button, for example, offers useful and more refined results mirroring what you would expect from a desktop query.
It offers albums, top tracks and the option to play the artist’s radio station.
With Amazon Music Unlimited, the interface is laid out differently with a slick navy blue interface.
The interface is also intuitive, orderly and clean and is not hard to use even for the beginners as long as you have ever used a streaming service or a shopping website.
This is another important feature in a music streaming service especially for the music fans who have invested in good audio systems since the quality will be evident while playing the music.
Amazon Music Unlimited has been timid in revealing their streaming bitrate and it is claiming to support multiple bitrates.
If you are using a high-end hi-fi system,however, the bitrate is not so different from Spotify’s 320kbps.
For Napster (Rhapsody) users, the quality is not as good because most of the tracks are available in a maximum bitrate of 192kbps.
If you are looking for the best quality, then Napster is not the best for you.
Amazon Music Unlimited
• Cheaper subscription for Echo and echo Dot users
• Alexa functionality
• Extensive music library
• Wide platform and catalogue support
• Reduced subscription for the Amazon Prime Music subscribers
• Miscellaneous playlists
• No video content like in Prime Music
• Unreliable interface
• No free version
• Bad music discovery features
Good and reliable user interface
Offline mode available
Huge library and unlimited music streaming
Compatible with home audio systems
Weak social media tools on the app
Too basic desktop experience
Paid Music Subscribers
At the start of the millennium, one of the pioneers of online music streaming, Rhapsody (Napster) was ruling the American airwaves along with Pandora, while Jeff Bezos was still using office desks made of second hand doors in his Seattle office.
Fast forward to 2015, Jeff Bezos was a billionaire, with a highly profitable multi-billion dollar shopping portal.
While Rhapsody was trying to establish itself as America’s most loved streaming platform.
Amazon Music had 7 million paid subscribers in 2015, while Rhapsody (Napster) had 3 million.
Rhapsody grew at 114% in 2014 and was projected to overtake Spotify, as the leader of online music streaming industry in 2015.
In 2016, things went according to plan for Amazon , whose paid subscriber base grew to 11 million (from 7 million).
But Rhapsody’s growth was rather stunted and was able to gain only a million followers and it’s tally stood at 4 million in 2016.
2017 was the year of Amazon Music Unlimited, with non-stop promotions and highly lucrative Affiliate bounty program, Amazon’s paid subscriber base grew to 16 million.
While Rhapsody’s performance was below par, once again.
It gained a million more followers in 2017 and Rhapsody’s total tally of paid subscribers stood at 5 million in 2017.
Unfortunately, this will be Rhapsody’s highest numbers until the end of this decade.
But the worst is yet to come, for the first time in 10 years, Rhapsody was beginning to lose it’s loyal customers.
By the end of 2018, Rhapsody had lost a million subscribers (total 4 million), while Amazon gained 4 million more (total 20 million).
In 2019, Amazon Music grew more than 70% to reach 32 million paid subscribers, but Rhapsody’s subscriber base dwindled, yet reaching 3 million.
It will be unfair to surmise that Rhapsody has done nothing to stem it’s dwindling subscriber base.
The truth is Rhapsody has done more than many other music streaming services competing with the Big Four ( Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music & Google Play).
In 2011, they acquired Napster, adding more than 2 million subscribers to it’s kitty, in 2014 they planned to public and everything was set in motion for a grand IPO in 2015.
But their 2014 fourth quarter earnings, totally broke the backbone of it’s investors.
Rhapsody/Napster suffered losses of huge proportions, which ultimately resulted in the top management nullifying their proposed IPO.