At the turn of the century, the internet held the promise of content “streaming,” a splashing waterfall of always-on music and video, but bandwidths weren’t then what they are now, and the whole experience of streaming anything was slow and painful. One of the frontrunners though was Rhapsody in 2001, owned by Listen.com at the time, which provided over 30,000 legally-owned tracks. Two years later, Rhapsody was acquired by RealNetworks, where Rhapsody’s catalog and subscribers continued to grow. This month, with close to 10 million tracks, Rhapsody became an independent company and to break free from the RealNetworks branding, created a new logo.
As you may have noticed from our new header, Rhapsody’s got a spiffy new logo, one that’s more representative of what Rhapsody is, at heart: playful, musical and fun.
— Rhapsody blog post
The new logo was created by FlashBang Agency, who worked with Exopolis. Since the previous logo was simply an extension of the RealNetworks family of logos, there really wasn’t anything unique about it, so the change to something done specifically for them is very welcome. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the icon is a fun, quirky take on the tired cliché of the play button, it feels organic and inclusive and an icon that Rhapsody can stamp on anything establishing instant equity. The bad news is the wordmark, where each letter is singing to its own tune, creating a fairly dissonant whole. FlashBang told us the lettering was all done from scratch and, unfortunately, it wasn’t done properly. The “R” feels too light and less geometric than the rest, the “h” is squished, the “a” has that annoying Bauhaus-esque opening that can’t be seen anywhere else in the wordmark, the “s” appears too bold, the “y” although also quirky and a good idea in concept is badly drawn creating a very heavy blob of ink where the diagonals join. The “p,” “o” and “d” though are fine.
This logo would have benefitted from some editing: The icon is sufficiently unique that it would have performed better without the distraction of the wordmark, of which there are many. Knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when to push.