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How do you listen?

That’s what Darryl Wood, VP of Engineering at Rhapsody, and his team of engineers wants to know. Not how does a software developer think you listen, or how does a record label think you listen, but how do you – yes, you, the one reading this article — listen.

And after a whole lot of data sifting, analyzing the zeros and ones and talking to users about what they want from their streaming music service, the new Rhapsody beta is ready for you to test on Sonos — and it’s pretty awesome.

“Having access to products like Sonos means people are more likely to listen at home. The opportunities are endless right now to access your music.”

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” Darryl explains. “We have 13 years’ worth of data…especially [from] the last 5 years.” And that data, coupled with all the real feedback from Rhapsody loyalists and newbies alike, has helped lead to updates including:

Higher Audio Quality
AKA the highest quality audio on Rhapsody ever, at AAC @ 320 Kbps of kick ass sound. No doubt you’ll hear the difference once you pop out your earbuds at the end of a long commute and turn on your Sonos.

Sonos Spotlights
Rhapsody has curated content that’s ideal for home listening, just for Sonos users.

Perfect Playlists
The new Beta will allow Rhapsody users to browse for playlists by Genre, Mood, and Theme.

Custom Radio
Create custom ad-free radio stations based on a song or artist. Also, for some armchair traveling, tune-in to your favorite live radio stations from around the world.

Rhapsody icon

Gabriela Uribe Junkin, who runs partnerships at Rhapsody and has been with the company since 1997, has seen the Rhapsody and Sonos digital music partnership evolve from the start of it all. One thing she’s noticed along the way? Today, people can enjoy music whenever and wherever they are with a limitless catalog of music. “Having access to products like Sonos means people are more likely to listen at home. The opportunities are endless right now to access your music.”

With today’s update, Gabriela explains, Rhapsody took a look at the home listening experience and the idea of listening out loud (a concept we’re pretty fond of). This led to updates that make it easier than ever for you to access themes and moods that set the right tone in any and every room of your home, as well as enhanced audio features that ensure the truest, highest quality sound possible.

“Rhapsody continuously evaluates the best way to deliver high audio quality as efficiently as possible,” Darryl explains. “Our highest is 320 AAC audio. When a Sonos speaker is tuned with Trueplay, the sound quality is great, and we can give the full spectrum of sound that the artist was hoping to achieve.”

Sonos Spotlights on Rhapsody

Sonos-Rhapsody Beta Image

Beyond the sonic nuts and bolts of the new update, Rhapsody’s Sonos Spotlights is an exclusive new feature that curates music just for Sonos users. So what can you expect to hear?

“The editorial content is something we pride ourselves in, involving human touch and not just algorithms,” Gabriela tells us. “We have people studying what our users are listening to, and all the data that comes along with it, and applying it to the home listening experience — that’s how we come up with the themes and playlists.” Whether it’s music for dinner parties, cleaning your house, or waking up, Rhapsody has a team tracking the best music and trends.

And Sonos made the listening part of this equation even better. As Darryl explains, “from an editorial perspective, with the Sonos Spotlights you’re also trying to promote songs that show how our new sound enhancements benefits the user, and show off the capabilities and excitement that comes from something like Trueplay.”

And with New Year’s creeping closer, we put Darryl and Gabriela on the spot to pick their favorite party jams that you should definitely test it to:

Gabriela’s Top Picks:
One More Time, by Daft Punk“Always on my list as it is all about non-stop dancing and living in the sound.”

Song 2, by The Blur“A classic for me from college days! When you hear the first lyric play, everyone joins in.”
I Love It (Feat. Charli XCX), by Icona Pop“One of my at home singing and dancing favorite and ‘I love it.’”

Darryl’s Top Picks:
Hot, Hot, Hot, by Buster Poindexter“Because tango lines!  (Who doesn’t like a tango line?!?)”
New Year’s Day, by U2“We use to always listen to this in High School.  U2 all the way.”
1999, by Prince“Just because you HAVE to always play this…  (Even if you were born after 1999.)”
Hear the difference: Try the Beta today

The updated Rhapsody Beta is available now. Just head to the “Add Music Services” menu in the updated Sonos app and add Rhapsody (BETA). New to Rhapsody? If you’re ready to give it a try, they are now offering a free 60-day trial for Sonos users.

Try it out, and as always, let us know what you think in the Sonos community.