Rhapsody for iPhone gets offline playlists

Rhapsody becomes the first subscription music service to offer offline playback on the iPhone in the United States.

Matt Rosoff
Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.
Matt Rosoff

Subscription-based music service Rhapsody on Monday morning released a new version of its iPhone app that offers offline playback, allowing you to play playlists even when you don't have an Internet connection.

This advance puts Rhapsody in a unique position, at least for a couple months. Subscription service Spotify has an iPhone app with offline playback, but it is still available in Europe only. MOG hasn't gotten its iPhone app out the door yet, and Thumbplay, whose offline playback feature is a big selling point for the service, is available only for the BlackBerry.


The Rhapsody app is free, but you'll need a subscription, which costs $10 a month (it recently lowered prices) for one device or $15 a month for up to three.

Create one or more Rhapsody playlists, then download them to your phone over a 3G or wireless connection. Once they're on your phone, you'll be able to play them anywhere--on a plane, in the middle of the Australian outback, even at big concert events like Coachella (where AT&T's iPhone service was predictably spotty last week). The only caveat: it works only with playlists, not individual songs or albums. So if you want to save your new favorite album for offline play, you'll have to make it into a playlist first. Rhapsody's blog post on the updated app has more details.

Rhapsody plans to add offline playback to its Android app, and to introduce a BlackBerry app, later this year.