I’m fiddling around with ways to legally share music with all y’all, and at the moment I’m looking at Rhapsody’s playlist sharing feature. Rhapsody allows you 25 free listens a month (which could be one listen to 25 songs, or 25 listens to one song, or any inclusive combination of songs/listens equaling the number 25) and as far as I can see takes you to a relatively non-obtrusive landing site which will then open an anonymous-user flash player via your browser.
Both the landing site and the flash player are Rhapsody-branded, of course, and will exhort you to join Rhapsody. But at least as I’m using it doesn’t require you to sign in to listen to the music, and the streams are high-quality, so you don’t hear much degradation of the music (as in the case of Napster’s free music set-up, in which you can listen to any track three times, but on a 32kbs stream,which is fairly crappy). This seems like the best compromise of sound quality/user ease/musician compensation that I can see out there at the moment — but I’m interested in whether you think the same.
So: Here’s a five-song playlist, featuring “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor, “Boy/Girl Song” by Aphex Twin, “Helpless” by kd lang, “Sweet Thing” by the Waterboys and “She Goes on” by Crowded House. Would you do me the favor of trying out the link above and seeing how it works for you. Is it a reasonable way to share music? Or too complicated/too much a pain in the ass? Let me know and I’ll factor it in for further consideration. Non USians, be aware that you might not be able to listen to full song streams because of licensing issues in your own home country. Let me know if it does work for you in countries other than the US.
Now, if Rhapsody (or any other music service) were to come to me and ask me what I’d really want in order to share music on my site, I would tell them what I’d really like is the ability to get a widget that would allow me to make my own streaming music channel which I could program via Rhapsody’s library of music, and through which they could track the number of streams played/songs streamed, the better to charge me monthly for the statutory licensing fees. That way I could set up a really excellent personalized music station without killing my own server and easily compensate the musicians I’m featuring, and Rhapsody would have a really excellent feature for subscriber retention/new customer advertising. Seriously, that would be an excellent thing, and I would love it to death. Someone needs to get on that.
Until then, let me know how the playlist works for you.