MTV, Real and Verizon Wireless join hands for new music service

According to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-mart's welcome entry into DRM-free MP3 sales isn't the only thing going on in the online music space this morning. Apparently MTV and Real have decided to team up against Apple's juggernaut, and will be announcing a merged online store at 11AM ET today. They've even got Verizon and Vodafone signed up for mobile distribution, says the Journal. At this point it's still unclear how this will impact MTV's Urge partnership with Microsoft, and Real's Rhapsody service, but we just hope they're aware of the fact that things are basically looking DRM-free or bust at the moment, 'cause the market really doesn't need too many more also-rans.

Update: We're tuning into the press conference call as we speak, so standby for updates.

  • MTV, Real and Verizon are launching a new integrated music service.

  • MTV and Real are spinning off a new company called Rhapsody America, partnering with Verizon Wireless. V CAST as mobile platform.

  • Rhapsody America will by run by Urge's Michael Bloom. Kicking off marketing at MTV Video Music awards September 9th.

  • Verizon promises 8GB of phone music storage this year, and 16GB in 2008. Most likely refers to removable storage via (micro)SDHC, since they mentioned a current 4GB cap, and don't offer any 4GB phones.

  • Not just songs, the service will also include ringtones, album covers, ringback tones and music videos.

  • Urge is sticking around on Windows Media Player 11 until further notice, they're currently in talks with Microsoft.

  • Over-the-air downloads likely to be "important part of the service going forward." Emphasis is on being able to access your music collection wherever.

  • All of Real's DRM-free efforts (including the Universal DRM-free trial launch today) will be included in Rhapsody America. They think 2008 is when DRM-free will start to go mainstream.

  • Will most likely support subscription and purchase models.

  • No word on price or when the service is going to be available.