Two Questions For Rhapsody/MTV

Van

Two questions for Rhapsody/Verizon/MTV about the new/old music venture:

• When MTV announced its Urge music service at the 2006 CES show, MTV’s Van Toffler talked up his company’s partnership with Microsoft and its plans to use its marketing muscle to promote the subscription service. But today Van said the exact same thing — just substitute “RealNetworks” for “Microsoft” and add in Verizon. So what happened last time, and why will it be different this time?

• Are we done talking about devices? That was topic A for most music subscription services a few years ago: In order to compete with Apple/iPod/iTunes, the argument went, providers needed to tie their services to portable music players designed specifically for them: MTV had a deal with iRiver, for instance. I haven’t heard a word about players this time, so I assume the focus has now moved onto Verizon and its handsets.

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