MTV, RealNetworks Challenge Apple Music

Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks and digital media company RealNetworks announced Tuesday a digital music joint venture that will compete with Apple's dominant trinity of the iTunes store, iPod player and iPhone. MTV will merge its Urge music service into the Rhapsody offering from RealNetworks Inc. The new offering will be accessible on computers and music players and integrated with Verizon Wireless's VCast multimedia service for cell phones. It will be run by a new company, Rhapsody America, and MTV will heavily market the service starting in September and will provide music playlists and other programming.

The companies did not say how much the new service will cost. Rhapsody currently charges subscribers $12.99 a month for unlimited listening and sells individual tracks for 99 cents, with a discount for subscribers. Michael Bloom, previously the general manager of Urge, will head up the new company. In an interview, he said Urge's existing customers will be migrated to Rhapsody America over time, but would not give further details. For now, Urge customers can use their accounts on Rhapsody and enjoy access to both services.

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News source: Yahoo! Finance

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Urge is good. I've used it since WMP11 Beta days. My subscription ends at the start of October, and if something changes where I don't have to use the Rhapsody service, that'll be the last they'll receive of my money. I like the subscription, but I HATE RealNetworks.

However, if they keep it merged into WMP11 and keep the price the same (or lower), I might consider ...

I agree totally. Been an URGE subscriber since the BETA as well and im NOT happy that MTV has sold out like this, but to be honest I'm not surprised because on the rare occasion that I visited I couldn't help but notice that MTV made no effort to promote URGE even on it's site.

I hate REAL with a passion and have avoided using it's software for 10 years or more.

I got an email today from URGE giving some specifics. The new service won't use WMP11, but the subscription will cost the same. I'm just fearful that if I allwo it to convert that Real will convert all my tracks to it's own format.

They really need to stop starting new stores and trashing them for new ones. Pick one damn name and stick with it, they are ruining any brand recognition they could have had. At this pace I doubt anyone will be able to take on Apples iTunes Store.

MTV's attempt at a music store is pretty dead with WMP, a pretty decent music player, what chance does it have of success with Realplayer? lol.