Rhapsody

Rhapsody (recently rebranded as Napster) was the #1 digital music subscription service with millions of songs.

Pioneering features included:

  • My Library
  • Playlist Creation
  • Mobile Device Transfer and Portability
  • Radio Stations or Personalized Channels
  • Song Lyrics
  • Cross Platform Service - Desktop Software, Browser & Mobile Operating Systems

As Art Director, I managed a team of Sr Designers and Designers responsible for the design of Rhapsody Desktop Software and Rhapsody Online (Rhapsody.com).

Challenge

Rhapsody was acquired by Real in a post-Napster world during the start of the portable music era ushered by the iPod.

As opposed to individually purchasing single tracks or albums, Rhapsody offered the ability to stream the entire music catalog of millions of songs.

The goal of Rhapsody was simple – be the #1 digital music subscription service. 

Rhapsody Online’s goal was to be the best place to find, share and listen to music on the web.

Research

The Rhapsody team conducted ongoing usability testing and investigation including:

  • Independent analysis of current and future customer base
  • In-house, off-site and independent lab usability testing
  • Rigorous competitive research
  • In field and home observation of users
  • Extensive A/B, multivariate testing and funnel analysis
  • User pathing
  • SEO analysis

Process

The growth of Rhapsody was focused around the web and portable music for devices.

Initiatives included free playback of up to 25 songs without account creation and a music/news toolbar.

Each feature was designed for web affordances and subjected to prototyping and testing.

As a subscription music service, Rhapsody strived to keep feature parity across platforms.

Service, device and integrated partnerships included:

  • Best Buy
  • Sansa
  • iRiver
  • Comcast
  • Rolling Stone
  • Tivo

Features and services investigated and iterated on:

  • Online Library management
  • Online Playlist creation
  • Delayed Account creation
  • Integration with Rolling Stone
  • Music-centric community features
  • Song Lyrics

Rhapsody Online

Rhapsody Desktop Software

Results

The achieved its goal to be the #1 digital music subscription service.

Each month, millions of tracks were played and new features, such as Song Lyrics, My Library and Playlist Creation, were released.

Rhapsody Online gave direct web access on Mac + PC to over 2,000,000 tracks and hundreds of music videos – free and right from the browser.