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New MP3 Player and why Rhapsody Sucks

Well, I finally did it. I broke down and got an MP3 player. The justification was to be able to constantly listen to the liturgy that I’m supposed to have completely mastered by the fall, when I have to teach it. That was the justification.

In order to get to the point where I can actually use the damn thing, I have to get it to work with my PC. This shouldn’t be all that hard. My PC is a fairly new windows box, no customizations, and no unusual software to confuse things. Add in the facts that I spent a decade working in high tech, and that I’ve been working with computers since the mid 60’s, and you’ve got a recipe for a simple install and set up. Right?

Well, mostly right. The software (Rhapsody) installed OK, and the connection to the online music store was truly easy (of course). The problem came when I tried to rip music from a CD. Any CD. Including CDs that I had recorded myself, so I know there is no copy protection. For some reason, the software simply would not see my CD drive, and therefore would not rip the tracks. After trying all of the normal debugging stuff, I broke down and called Rhapsody tech support. Tech Support. Yay.

After the mandatory (and expected) 20 minute wait on hold, I ended speaking to a very nice (although hard to understand) young Indian (I think) man. I’ve dealt with tech support enough to know that they always start with the amazingly stupid “make sure there is a disc in the drive…. and so on routine, and I patiently walked through his script. After another 15 minutes or so, the tech decided that the problem was that the Rhapsody software was not detecting my CD or DVD drive. (Of course, this is what I had told him at the beginning of the call..). He went on to try a couple of pretty basic remedial steps (which I had already done), then informed me that there was no way to make the software detect the CD or DVD drives. His solution to the problem: Either buy another companies ripping software, or for a fee he could escalate the problem to second level tech support.

After a bit of discussion he agreed that my purchase did include 2 months of free tech support, but it couldn’t be activated unless I provided a valid credit card. Just for the record, I don’t ever do any electronic banking, I don’t have a credit card, debit card or even a money machine card at my bank. (what, you’re just now realizing I’m weird?) After a bit of round about, (during which I was playing around with some of my other music and DVD ripping software) I found out that another  piece of software that I have not only supported my particular MP3 player, but was actually easier to use, faster, and provided better sound quality (based on depth of conversion). The software that worked? Windows Media Player. Yep. Microsoft. That means that the company that is notorious for unstable software, surly tech support, and horrible customer relations is actually better than Rhapsody. Hard to believe, but true.

In any case, I finally got everything working. Of course, all that I’ve done so far is rip the pile of CDs that I haven’t really listened to since the early 90s – and all the stuff I’m supposed to be learning is still sitting on CD…..

Anyway, my recomendation is to avoid Rhapsody at all costs, unless you plan to buy all of your music from them, use them as your music manager (you have to be online and logged in to actually use their music manager), and keep paying their monthly fees. Windows (gack!) does it better and for free.


2 Responses

  1. In absolute agreement…RHAPSODY sucks!!!!!!

    After having my computer stolen, I reloaded Rhapsody onto my new computer to discover, voila…no tracks. After contacting customer service, I was told there was no way to redownload purchased tracks.

    Itunes let me redownload what I lost.

    That’s how life rolls, and that’s why there’s no point to Rhapsody. The whole membership thing smacks of Columbia House 1982. So long, Rhapsody. Who uses RealPlayer anyway? It sucks.

  2. Rhapsody also pays only one tenth of a cent per download to artists, except for ones that have struck up marketing deals with Rhapsody. It is absolutely the worst rip off to the majority of bands selling digital downloads. If you have any morals about digital downloading, do it anywhere but Rhapsody. In fact I’d rather you download my tunes from some free p2p service than Rhapsody.

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