Rhapsody Gets Urge To MTV

RealNetworks' Rhapsody is set to launch a new cross-platform digital music service that draws on content from MTV Networks' Urge service. The new co-branded Rhapsody-MTV service will deliver music and related content via PCs, portable music players and mobile devices. The mobile element will be sent by Verizon and Vodafone, allowing users to transfer music from their PCs to mobile devices.

To cement their alliance, MTV and RealNetworks are creating a new company called Rhapsody America, which will become the exclusive digital music service for both RealNetworks and MTV's various U.S. brands.

Rhapsody America will be headed by Michael Bloom, previously the general manager for MTV's Urge. It will draw on content from MTV, VH1 and CMT.

On the mobile side, Rhapsody will be integrated with Verizon's VCast Music service, which works with a wide variety of mobile devices. Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, boasted that the partnership with MTV and Verizon will "make Rhapsody the premiere digital music service that delivers great music to millions of consumers whenever and wherever they want."

The new service will be promoted through MTV properties, including the upcoming Video Music Awards in Las Vegas, as well as by Verizon Wireless and RealNetworks. Verizon's marketing effort will include promotions in its Wireless Communications Stores around the country.

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