Subscription music service Rhapsody, a division of Real Networks, has announced plans to port its service to Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. In a blog post Sunday, the company said it will submit the application (demonstrated on the video below) this week to Apple for review.
Historically, Apple has steered clear of subscription music, making it impossible for services such as Napster or Rhapsody to work with the iPod, fearing competition with its own iTunes music service. But the success of iPhone music applications such as Pandora, Last.fm, and Slacker, may have opened the door for subscription services as well. (Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET News.)
Rhapsody's mobile app will require that users hold a Rhapsody-to-Go account, which currently runs $14.95 per month. (Non-subscribers will apparently be offered a limited time free-trial period.) The Rhapsody app allows subscribers to explore and stream Rhapsody's entire online music catalog over EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi, as well as create and store playlist queues of their favorite content. The app does not, however, allow users to download and store Rhapsody songs directly on the device, or cache content temporarily to hear offline.
If Rhapsody's application is approved by Apple, it won't likely be alone. Competing services such as Spotify have shown off similar applications, and Napster will surely want to get in on the action as well. The real question is whether people will find subscription music capabilities valuable. With free, ad-supported services such as Pandora already dominating the spotlight, it remains to be seen whether Rhapsody can convince new customers to spend close to $15 a month for unlimited on-demand music streaming.
In the blog post, Rhapsody also revealed plans to develop an Android application. It's not known whether that version would offer greater flexibility (local storage, over-the-air downloads) than the version for the iPhone.
(Via PC World)