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"We’re creating a unique and engaging experience that also reflects our own strategy of allowing fans to go narrow and deep into the musical genres they love."
—-Judy McGrath, MTV Networks Chairman/CEO
MTV TEAMS WITH REALNETWORKS,
VERIZON FOR ONLINE MUSIC
Joint Venture Rhapsody America Will be Exclusive Digital Music Service
Another challenger to the Apple online music hegemony has entered the ring.

MTV Networks, RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless are teaming to create “a single, integrated digital music experience that consumers can access via their PC, portable music device or mobile phone.”  But not their iPods, apparently.

Said an MTV insider: "iTunes only works with the iPod. It's a closed system. We're about spreading the love and having open systems." 

The new company, Rhapsody America, will absorb much of MTV Networks’ former URGE music service. Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Music will become the mobile platform for the integrated Rhapsody service.

Michael Bloom, previously GM of URGE, will lead Rhapsody America, which will have offices in New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

Real and MTV Networks, through their Rhapsody America venture, have formed a long-term, exclusive relationship with Verizon Wireless, to bring consumers digital music to their PCs and over the air to their mobile phones. Through the relationship with Verizon Wireless, Rhapsody will be fully integrated with VCAST Music.

Says MTV Networks Chairman/CEO Judy McGrath: “With RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless, we’re creating a unique and engaging experience that also reflects our own strategy of allowing fans to go narrow and deep into the musical genres they love. Any time we can partner with industry leaders like this to create a new music proposition, everyone wins, especially the audience. Who needs an iPhone when you’ve got a Verizon Razr anyway?” 

RealNetworks Chairman/CEO Rob Glaser states: “Today’s announcements represent a sea-change in the digital music market. By partnering with MTV Networks, home of the most storied brands in music history, and the market’s leading wireless company, Verizon Wireless, we’ll make Rhapsody the premier digital music service that delivers great music to millions of consumers whenever and wherever they want. Or my name is Shawn Fanning, and it’s not. ”

MTV Networks President Music & Logo Group Van Toffler adds: “By bringing together the cultural and musical heritage of the MTV Networks family with the functionality of Rhapsody and the reach of V CAST Music, it’s like we’ve put the best lead singer, drummer and guitarist all on the same giant stage, allowing music fans to experience the purest music play in any way they want. The new Rhapsody will build on the musical curation of URGE and have the marketing power of MTV, VH1 and CMT behind it, ensuring this new platform is front and center in the hearts and minds of music lovers. And you ask why they call me the Master of Metaphor.”

Verizon Wireless will market Rhapsody through its extensive network of Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide when the service launches on mobile phones. Rhapsody will become the music service across MTV Networks’ MTV, VH1 and CMT brands. Rhapsody will also be integrated into the fabric of the MTV Video Music Awards airing live from Las Vegas on Sept. 9.

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