Prizefight: Napster vs. Rhapsody
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Prizefight: Napster vs. Rhapsody

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It's a battle between music subscription services. Napster and Rhapsody bring their prowess at music downloading and streaming to the Prizefight ring to find out which one reigns supreme.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >> What's up Prize Fight fans? I'm Brian Tong and we face off the ala carte music stores from iTunes and Amazon, but this time around, it's all about subscription services. It's a music store matchup between a Napster you may not recognize and the Rhapsody Music Store. Our judges for this fight are senior editor Donald Bell, senior associate editor Jasmine France and myself. We'll take the average of all three judge's scores for each round using decimals rounded to the nearest 10th. The final prizefight score will be an average of all five rounds. You can purchase MP3s from both stores, throw subscribed music onto your music player and stream their entire music library, so who's coming out on top? We'll find out. Round one is interface. [ Music ] Both stores are PC and Mac friendly through a web browser and both also offer a standalone application, that's Windows only. The apps have a look that pay homage to Windows and that's not really a good thing. Now Napster's store is quick to get content, but it's popup windows and signing Jasmine out even while she was streaming music was a pain. We all gave the Rhapsody store a slight edge for its user-friendly website and its better integration with music players that it supports. [ Bell ] Rhapsody gets a 3.7 and Napster gets a 2.7, next round is library. [ Music ] Napster has over 7 million songs and Rhapsody has over 6 million. You'll find pretty much all the top hits here. Now during my screen, Rhapsody had all the tracks I was looking for, but Napster was missing one of the five and I know you can criticize me for looking for the original love theme from Saint Elmo's Fire, but I had to put them to the test. Rhapsody gets a slight edge here with a 4 and Napster gets a 3.7. So after averaging two rounds, Rhapsody leads by 7 tenths of a points, Napster better pick it up. Next round is execution. [ Music ] Napster stands out with its billboard play list that make finding your jams from high school a cinch. Now Jasmine prefers their playlist that are created by more reliable editors and not from a user in their bedroom. Plus, you'll get message boards and radio stations. Rhapsody offers community features with a blog that features interviews and album reviews and you really have a feeling there are really people providing content to the store. You'll also find artists and staff playlists here too. Rhapsody takes the third round in a row with a 4 and Napster gets a three. Next round is audio quality. [ Music ] Both stores offer MP3 downloads that work with essentially every music player possible at a 256-bit rate. The music sounds great, but Rhapsody's inclusion of a 10 band EQ gives it the edge again with a 4.3 and Napster gets a 4. So after 4 rounds, Rhapsody is still on top. Does Napster have anything left in the tank? The final round that decides it all is value. [ Music ] Napster starts at 5 dollars a month for five free MP3 downloads and unlimited streaming. Purchased tracks play on an iPhone, iPod or almost any device and subscription music plays on Napster compatible devices. There's no plan that even comes close to this one. Rhapsody starts at 15 dollars a month for the subscription. That means it plays on Rhapsody supported music players and you can purchase MP3 tracks separately that also work on iPods. But there are no MP3 downloads bundled into the plan at all. Napster finally takes a round and takes it big with a 4.7 and Rhapsody gets a 3. So let's average out all five rounds and you remember, Rhapsody took the first 4 rounds and Napster came back with a huge blow in the final one. But it just wasn't enough to close the gap. And Rhapsody takes this prize fight winning 3.8 to 3.6. This was a great showing by both music stores. The score was really close, but Rhapsody's interface and ease of use helped it eek out the win over Napster's great value. I'm Brian Tong, thanks for watching and we'll catch you guys next time on anther prize fight. ^M00:04:05 [ Music ]

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