Can Rhapsody America succeed where countless others have failed?
Always likely to fail, the December 2005 launched (and ignored) Microsoft and MTV music download service URGE has failed and instead MTV is melding it into another, more promising, iTunes alternative.
‘Rhapsody America’ – as the name suggests – will initially operate only in the US and is the result of a joint venture between Verizon Wireless, Real Networks and MTV – a mighty trio.
Together they will launch perhaps the first viable multi-medium music download service targeting PCs, portable media players and mobile phones. The result will tie the (moderately successful) RealNetworks’ service, MTV’s (rubbish) URGE remnants and Verizon’s (so so) V CAST Music into one monstrous conglomerate.
“Today’s announcements represent a sea-change in the digital music market,” said Rob Glaser, chairman/CEO/big cheese of RealNetworks. “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.”
Behind the bluster however there isn’t yet a great deal of substance. What we do know is that starting today URGE users will be able to use Real’s Rhapsody service, but it will be a few months before we see wholly new features under the Rhapsody America brand.
So can this mish-mash succeed? In some ways there are parallels in its approach and that of the amalgamation that formed Virgin Media (the biggest attempt to date to tackle Sky). Like Virgin Media though, it’s going to need a lot of luck…