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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Rhapsody adds offline play to iPhone, iPad app

Rhapsody released a new version of its app enabling iPhone and iPad users to store and play music from its online music service, even when the devices are offline.

The app lets subscribers store a Rhapsody playlist on the device. By the end of June, it should let people also download individual albums or tracks, the company said. (A workaround in the meantime is to create a playlist for a particular album and download it to the device.)

From the announcement, by Jon Maples, product lead:

Here’s how it works: say you’ve built the perfect road-trip playlist (mine includes all of Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, a bunch of Joe Strummer and Clash songs, plus a smattering of “Weird Al” Yankovic). Simply launch your Rhapsody app, open the playlist and click the Download icon. You’ll need either a 3G or WiFi connection to do this initially, but once the songs are saved to your device, you can rappel into the deepest crevices of the Grand Canyon and still be able to play them back.

Rhapsody’s initial app for the iPhone was downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its debut last fall. It lets subscribers stream music from Rhapsody’s 9.5 million-track library to connected devices. Android and BlackBerry versions are coming later this year.

Whether or not subscription music services like Rhapsody catch on, the app’s ability to stream digital music to mobile devices showed how far along wireless networks have come. Now the download feature is demonstrating the sophistication of today’s digital-rights technology and content-licensing schemes.

The app is free but requires a $10 per month subscription supporting a single mobile device. Up to three devices are supported with a “premier” plan that costs $14.99 per month.

It’s optimized for the iPhone screen. It works on the iPad but an iPad-specific version that looks better on the larger screen is still in the works.

Comments | Topics: apple, Digital media, iPad

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