Real's Rhapsody and MTV's Urge merges into Rhapsody America

A new music download service - Rhapsody America - is to launch in the States.

Not just A.N. Other iTunes competitor, industry insiders and analysts are suggesting this new venture could pose a legitimate challenge to Apple's ubiquitous download service.

Set to threaten iTunes three-quarter marker share dominance Rhapsody America is a joint venture from RealNetworks and Viacom owned MTV Networks.

The two companies will market and operate the Rhapsody-based service together and have also partnered with American mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless to extend the service to "cellphone" users.

Rather than starting from scratch the new launch see Real's Rhapsody music service and MTV's online Urge music service melded into one company.

As usual with these massive corporate deals no terms have been disclosed, but MTV has committed $230 million in advertising spend, which gives you an idea of the scale of the project.