Pros None (It is difficult to think about features when confronted with so many errors while attempting to use an application.)
Cons Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy Buggy
Summary I know better than to upgrade to X.0 of anything; but I was lulled into complacency by the stability of Rhapsody 3.x that I upgraded from. Rhapsody 4.0 is way too buggy to have been released by an entity with as much market power as Real Networks. The development managers should be ashamed of themselves, and upper management should have serious career-continuity discussions with them.
(1) The upgrade install is not smart enough to determine whether correct-version DRM components are present on the PC, and simply runs to completion without errors with incorrect-version components installed. Proceeding to install with incompatible OS components is a real no-no with modern software, and caused the following problem. I right-clicked and selected “authorize” to authorize and license my portable player; this routine ran to completion without errors. But then, when I attempted to transfer tracks to the device, I got the error message “computer not authorized.” This message left a maddening ambiguity as to whether the problem was associated with the Rhapsody-based computer or with the portable player. Several cycles of de-authorization and re-authorization of both computer and player finally determined that the problem had to do with the player. Indicating that an operation has completed without errors when it has not is also a no-no with modern software. Hours later, after executing a list of possible fixes related to “DRM problems” found on the Rhapsody support page, the problem resolved by implementing the item last on the list, “updating Helix components.” A software services company that forces users to this level of minutia to obtain a working product writes a dissertation thereby titled “How to Lose Customers.”
(2) Dragging a track multiple times to a playlist creates duplicates of that track in the playlist.
(3) Selecting 400 tracks from My Library, right-clicking and choosing “Download Tracks” resulted in a four-hour download of useless files in “.rax” format that could not be copied locally to the portable player. I had to repeat the download completely to get transferable .wma files.
(4) When performing simultaneous downloading of tracks and loading tracks already downloaded to the portable player, the progress bar flakes out and stops reporting the track download operation.
(5) Level 1 technical support apparently has a series of buttons on their support consoles to generate canned messages such as “I can surely help you with that issue.” However they have repeatedly proven incapable of answering even one question complicated enough to necessitate chatting with them. And they have wasted massive amounts of my time.
Pros Excellent concept
Cons EXTREMELY BUGGY -- and they don't do anything about it
Summary I have been with Rhapsody for two to three years. I love and hate it. Its a great concept. They have an okay music library. I tend to listen to alternative music (Fiery Furnaces, Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Dizzy Rascal, Walkmen, Catpower, etc). I'd say 25% they do not have what I am looking for. That doesn't keep me from coming back though. The real problem with Rhapsody is its extremely buggy. Its user interface slows down regularly. Downloads take forever. The TO GO subscription is seeminly wrought with issues of licensing. I had to reformat my Creative MP3 player (may have been a Creative issue, I don't know). I often have to uninstall and install the Rhapsody program. These bugs/problems have been there for at least two years and Rhaposdy doesn't seem to solve the problems. I don't think its a situation that is individual to my computer since I have had similar problems on three computers. They really need to drop the program and start over. CNET's rating is way too generous. I hope this was helpful.
Pros dynamic playlists
Cons no mixer window
Summary The first issue that I will mention is the fact that on a screen resolution of 1024 * 768, I cannot have the program maximized else my search bar and forward/backward buttons disappear! I can use my backspace key which is an internet explorer shortcut for back, but I want my search bar! Although it appears when Rhapsody is resized and not maximized, not having the system maximized is annoying. To get the search bar, I have to "cut off" a good chunk of the artist page that I'm looking at. That's no good.
Secondly, the absence of the mixer window is awful! I understand that now playing is in a little item all by itself, but seriously. When I am at an artist's page and I want to play songs or if I want to adjust the order in which songs are being played, I have to go back and forth from the music guide to the now playing section whereas before, all I had to do was adjust accordingly in the mixer window.
Thirdly, when you delete a track from the Now Playing window, your cursor automatically jumps back to the first song. For example, if I have a list of 20 songs, and I want to delete songs 7, 11, and 14, I usually click number 7, then press delete on my keyboard. Because my hands are now close to the arrow keys and not the mouse, I use them to move down to song 11. At this point, the highlight does not pick up from song 8 (as it previously did) but instead picks up at song 1. That is highly frustrating for a keyboard oriented person such as myself. (My job keeps me keyboard oriented.)
Fourthly, I cannot stress enough how bad I miss the mixer window. I hate using an older version of anything and really don't want to miss out on the wonderful new features you've added into version 4.0. Especially a recent bug fix that I wanted. Not only that, what if I want to update my Windows Media Player to version 11? Will I be able to stay on Rhapsody 3.1 then? What about when Microsoft makes Windows Media 12? How long? Seriously, I love Rhapsody and would not want to move to Napster or Yahoo, but they have mixer windows (last I checked.) I find this new method of "Now Playing" very un-intuitive and not user friendly. I want Rhapsody to succeed for my own selfish reasons. (I want more music added!!!) If I were new to this and just coming over to Rhapsody, the absence of the mixer window, I would have never switched from Napster. That's right. I used Napster before Rhapsody, and if it was like it is in v 4.0, I don't think I would have switched. As a matter of fact, I'm considering switching back to Napster due to this.
Like I said, I cannot stress enough how unfriendly this software has become. I have recommended Rhapsody to several people and quite a few of my friends use it now. I cannot recommend it to anyone else at this point, and I've been an advocate of it.
Pros New rating system, much improved user interface and tools for burn & sync.
Cons When browsing music when you listen to a song and want to hit the back key to go right back to where you were in the list, poof! It's gone, you start over.
Summary For a devoted fan of Rhapsody who was starting to really worry about there ability to stick around, it's like getting your car back from a detail shop, you fall back in love with it.
Pros Works great with e200R players, cool interface
Cons Still some inapplicable Microsoft popups for R-series
Summary Rhapsody 4 with a Sansa e200R player is great. The integration is seamless...the ability to drop channels on the player is great, and everything is super stable. The player-software ecosystem practically manages itself.
My only gripe: I get a popup, seamingly about Microsoft DRM, that claims I can't play anything until I update my DRM software. Clicking OK just stalls me at an initializing window. Just killing it has no impact. I can still play everything, download, etc as normal. Apparently the message was hogwash. Perhaps this issue has no impact on the R-series players. No harm no foul.
Other than that, I've had zero issues. This is awesome. Rhapsody just broadened their advantage over iTunes, and now they have a sweet player to go with it.