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Real gets Urge

The digital music industry is getting a bit of a shake up this week, as it emerges that Urge, the MTV-owned music service, will be incorporated into Real’s Rhapsody offering.

The Rhapsody America service will be available on PCs and on mobile phones via an agreement with Verizon Wireless.

After failing to gain traction in the market, industry analysts were unsurprised by the announcement. “We have long expected to see some consolidation in the second tier of the digital music market,” said senior Ovum analyst, Jonathan Arber, “There are simply too many players competing for too small a slice of pie – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see more deals of this type going forward.”

For MTV, the deal allows the company to hand over the reins to a more experienced player and also gives Real the benefit of access to the MTV brand. Arber reckons Verizon stands to gain the most from the deal.

“However, we very much doubt that this is a serious threat to iTunes – the subscription model has thus far proven unpopular with consumers, and there are no indicators that this new service will change that,” Arber said.

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