Rhapsody America Official Name Of Rhapsody, MTV Joint Venture
MTV Networks released more specific details about its joint venture with RealNetworks. Dissatisfied with Microsoft’s ability to deliver the goods, MTV has cut relations with the software giant and courted RealNetworks to merge their uninspired Urge download store with Real’s backend technology.
As we reported when the news first broke, this is a unanimous win for Real and a “saved at the bell” deal for MTV. The final verdict will be if MTV can truly deliver on the promotion and marketing end of the spectrum. Real already has the technology in place, so they don’t have to flex much muscle to slap the Urge brand onto their Rhapsody service, but can MTV successfully take on the jungernaut of the iPod + iTunes?
The answer is no. Although Rhapsody is a decent service and promotion by MTV will not hurt, there’s no way they can crack Apple’s seamless iTunes experience with just an online store offering. MTV hoped that Microsoft’s Zune would be a convincing factor, but the product was Dead On Arrival, and even their next generation models will feel like last millennium’s technology compared to the new Apple iPods that are coming in short order.
Michael Bloom has been tasked to run Rhapsody America out of New York, Seattle and San Francisco, but you have to feel sorry for the guy – truly a no-win situation. Verizon Wireless has also been confirmed as the wireless provider for the endeavor with a Rhapsody America branded version of its V Cast technology.
“Any time we can partner with industry leaders like this to create a new music proposition, everyone wins, especially the audience,” stated Judy McGrath, CEO of MTV Networks, in a prepared statement. Everybody but MTV…
The Future: Judy’s living the lie if she thinks Rhapsody America is a “new music proposition.” A repackage of Real and Verizon’s services is hardly new. Real and Verizon are the true winners in the long term. Buy leveraging MTV’s short term marketing push they will be able to expose their respective services to new customers, who may stay with the company’s when Urge finally bites the dust.