Look out iTunes! MTV, RealNetworks, and Verizon Wireless are coming after you like a tornado made of arms, teeth, and fingernails. The companies “announced they are teaming to create a single, integrated digital music experience that consumers can access via their PC, portable music device or mobile phone.”
The new venture is called “Rhapsody America” and will be MTV’s rebound to its failed marriage with Microsoft, who left their Urge music service to whither while it gallivanted around with a younger, prettier Zune Marketplace. The key difference for Rhapsody America will be over-the-air music downloads made possible using Verizon’s V CAST technology.
The basic idea is that former Urge subscribers, current V CAST subscribers, and current Rhapsody subscribers will now all be part of the Rhapsody software. If you download a song using V CAST, it’ll show up on your PC when you use Rhapsody. Likewise, you can send Rhapsody songs to your Verizon phone. This functionality will be rolled out over the coming months.
Will this whole deal be successful? Probably. Is it the next iTunes? Probably not. It would be great if it was available on all cell phones, not just Verizon, but the likelihood of that happening is hovering around the zero percent range since Verizon is a major partner.
Now if Verizon and Real teamed up with one of Real’s hardware partners (Sandisk, for instance) to make a digital audio player that had a free or low-cost connection to Verizon’s network allowing it to download music directly to the device, we might have something that consumers would find pretty useful.