MTV + RealNetworks: Official Details Emerge

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MTV Networks disclosed official details Tuesday on its fresh joint venture with RealNetworks, one that melds digital music store Urge with Rhapsody.

The tie-up, which first leaked Monday, will sever an unsuccessful partnership involving Microsoft, and potentially create a more convincing competitor to iTunes.  The blended play, called Rhapsody America, will marry the promotional prowess of MTV with the technology of RealNetworks.  The joint venture will be headed by Michael Bloom, previously general manager of Urge.  Offices will live in New York, Seattle and San Francisco.

During the announcement, MTV also confirmed the role of Verizon Wireless.  The carrier will offer a critical mobile distribution component, and layer Rhapsody America into its V Cast multimedia play.  The Verizon partnership allows Rhapsody America to spread itself across the PC, portable media player, and mobile device.  “Any time we can partner with industry leaders like this to create a new music proposition, everyone wins, especially the audience,” said Judy McGrath, chairman and chief executive of MTV Networks.  The freshly-launched venture will be pushed heavily at the upcoming Video Music Awards in September, according to the companies.