MTV Drops URGE, joins RealNetworks and Verizon

MTV has decided to shut down its URGE service, while joining RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless together in a joint venture, centered around RealNetworks' Rhapsody.  URGE users will be able to migrate their accounts from URGE to Rhapsody.

As part of this alliance, MTV Networks and Real are forming a new company, Rhapsody America, whose offering will be the exclusive digital music service for Real and for MTV Networks' premier music and pop culture brands in the United States.

Real and MTV Networks, through their Rhapsody America venture, have formed a long-term, groundbreaking and exclusive relationship with Verizon Wireless, in which the companies will be partners in bringing consumers digital music to their PCs and over the air to their mobile phones. Through the relationship with Verizon Wireless, Rhapsody will be fully integrated with VCAST Music, delivering a superior music service across multiple consumer devices.

URGE was pretty much an orphan after Microsoft launched Zune Marketplace anyway - and the dropping of it was expected.  For RealNetworks, this is another attempt to snag more marketshare from Apple and iTunes, but that juggernaut seems unstoppable, no matter what anyone does.