Rhapsody and Virtual PC for Mac

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/12/2009

The Rhapsody music service is one of the only things that I've not been able to try because I'm a Mac user. In my work, 99% of PC-created documents can be opened on a Mac, 99% of web sites work fine and 99.9% of PC viruses don't affect me! The worst I might have to deal with is a web site that makes me use a particular Mac browser. The remaining 1% is usually not worth the time, but when it's important, I use Virtual PC. (For my Virtual PC report, see this other thread, "An intro to Virtual PC for Mac".)

( Click here to check out Rhapsody. It's not available for Mac, so to test in VPC you'll need to visit this link from within VPC. )

The Rhapsody service (aka Listen.com, owned by Real Networks) is not accessible via the web. It is only accessible with their application, and they have not made a Mac version. So I fired up Virtual PC and gave it a shot. The results were not good.

I have a middle-of-the-road system that is by no means outdated. But it wasn't enough processor power to run Rhapsody. Here's the system:

PowerBook G4/867, 768mb, OS X 10.2.8 with all updates (and OS 9.2.2). Virtual PC is version 5.02 (build 2287). Rhapsody is the latest version as of 1/21/04.

I tried running Rhapsody in WinXP and in Win98SE. I also tried booting into OS 9 (to see if Virtual PC would run either PC OS faster). Of those four combinations, none worked adequately.

Rhapsody would load and login slowly but with no errors. But when playing music, it would stutter and glitch throughout songs. And after a few songs, Rhapsody would crash. 50% of crashes would offer a polite warning before doing so.

Now, perhaps if I had the newer Virtual PC 7, it would work better. Or if I had the latest top-of-the-line Mac. If you have personal experience, PLEASE reply to this forum topic!

So, bottom line: You need a top-of-the-line Mac/Virtual PC system to do this. Even then, I'm not sure if it would work. Oh well.

Joined: 01/12/2004

I am thinking about buying a Mac, but I absolutely need to use the service from listen.com (rhapsody). Based on your account, it doesn't seem to run properly on a middle-end mac. I am planning on getting a 1.2ghz ibook with 768mb ram. Do you think I could get rhapsody to run properly on that system through virtual PC ?

thanks for any help.


Joined: 02/12/2009

I sincerely doubt it would work on a G4/1.2 iBook. While I've not tested it myself on that system, I expect that you would need a recent dual-processor G5, and the newest version of VPC (which makes better use of the G5 processor). It might be possible on the 1.8 G5 iMac.

I'd suggest getting more direct personal user reports. There are too many variables to trust second-hand information (even from me!)...

The problem is that Rhapsody is a streaming-based service. If it was simply a download-based service, then purchased music would just take a bit longer to download on a slower connection/computer. But streaming-based services depend heavily on your speed. (Plus, you would not be tied to their service if you actually OWNED the music you've paid for.)

Contact Rhapsody (Listen.com/Real) and tell them they are losing lots of business by ignoring Mac users!

p.s. I guess I should point out my tips on getting a deal when buying a Mac:

Joined: 01/10/2005

Have you tried changing the priority of the process running virtualPC ? Doing so increases the performance of Vmware (an equivalent product) under Linux (which is the OS I use most of the time).

You can change process priorities using the "renice" command, although I don't know whether OSX handles this differently than linux.

I have emailed listen.com to complain about them not offering a Mac version, here is the reply I got:

Thank you for contacting RealNetworks Music Customer Service.

We would like nothing more then to be able to have a Mac Version, unfortunately Mac has not released the codex for us to be able to allow for Mac computers to access our music site, Mac wants you to use I-tunes and no others.

We appreciate you contacting us with your interest in Rhapsody and to inform us you are using the Macintosh Operating System. Currently, Rhapsody is compatible with Windows only. As Rhapsody continues to grow, we hope to add other operating systems to the compatibility list. Unfortunately, at this time no date is available.

I guess I will find out soon enough whether it runs properly or not.. I need a laptop and I don't think I will be buying a PC.

Have you found out anything since the last email you sent me ?

thanks for any additionnal info you might have.

Joined: 02/12/2009

lucw wrote:Have you tried changing the priority of the process running virtualPC ?

That might help. I seem to recall, though, that there's something different about VPC's priority in OS X by default. Maybe it grabs a higher priority automatically? There are also OS X apps that makes this easier to control. One example:

lucw wrote:
I have emailed listen.com to complain about them not offering a Mac version, here is the reply I got...

Subtext to their reply: There's a whole political mess there as well. Apple and Real (Listen's parent co) have been battling over Digital Rights Management. Real hacked Apple's FairPlay DRM (to access the iPod), then Apple changed it to lock them out.


Make sure to read this article all about Virtual PC, with links to tune-up tips:

Joined: 04/24/2005

Mainly bad news to report on the Rhapsody front, I'm afraid. I have a Mac mini with a 1.42GHz G4, 1GB of RAM and VirtualPC 7.0.1. Running only Rhapsody on my rig (via cable modem, using high quality sound) mostly works. It sounds pretty smooth, with a one-second stutter maybe once every 10 mins. The problem comes when I try to do anything (and I do mean anything) else at the same time: the stutters get so bad that it's essentially unlistenable. Doing pretty much anything (either within Virtual PC or in Mac OS X) will conk it out, from typing in Word to moving windows to surfing the web. I tried changing priorities for the Virtual PC process (using renice or whatever the OS X equivalent is), but it didn't help at all (which really surprised me). I'd love to hear if anyone's managed to make Rhapsody usable under VPC, since that's pretty much the only reason I hold on to my PC.