MTV, RealNetworks challenge Apple Music

Viacom 's MTV Networks and digital media company RealNetworks announced a digital music joint venture that will compete with Apple's dominant trinity of the iTunes store, iPod player and iPhone, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said MTV will merge its Urge music service into the Rhapsody offering from RealNetworks, forming a new company called Rhapsody America.

The new service will be accessible on computers and music players and integrated with Verizon Wireless's VCast multimedia service for cell phones, the report said.

MTV will heavily market the Rhapsody America service starting in September and will provide music playlists and other programming, the report added.

The companies did not say how much the new service will cost. Rhapsody currently charges subscribers $12.99 a month for unlimited listening and sells individual tracks for 99 cents, with a discount for subscribers, it said.

The Associated Press report quoted executives from the three companies as saying in a conference call that RealNetworks owns a majority of the new venture, though MTV's stake is 'substantial.' The relationship with Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group of Britain, is exclusive and long-term, the companies said.

Further financial details were not provided.

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