ITunes Rival Rhapsody Breaks Out Major Marketing Effort

New Round of TV Spots From Droga5 for Digital-Music Service to Appear Across MTV Properties

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Rhapsody America, a digital-music service from MTV Networks and RealNetworks, has been quietly working with independent Droga5 and Publicis' Optimedia U.S. for its first major marketing push.
Sara Barielles appeared in the first round of commercials created by Droga5 for Rhapsody.
Sara Barielles appeared in the first round of commercials created by Droga5 for Rhapsody.

Rhapsody, a subscription-based music service where users pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited music downloads, was re-branded this summer with an investment from MTV Networks. At the time, MTV pledged to invest about $230 million over five years to market the service.

The first round of commercials created by Droga5 featured singer Sara Barielles. A second round of Rhapsody TV spots, which feature indie group Throw Me the Statue, break this week and will appear on MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central.

Can it compete with iTunes?
A big part of the media plan will be to run on properties of MTV Group, said Antony Young, CEO of Optimedia, but he said it will still be "very much a multimedia solution."

Rhapsody, which wants to challenge iTunes' dominance in the digital-music marketplace, recently made a deal with Yahoo for an undisclosed sum in which Yahoo would drop its subscription-music service and use its online audience to promote Rhapsody. Rhapsody also has a deal in place with mobile carrier Verizon to extend its service to cellphones.

According to published reports, RealNetworks has about 2.75 million subscribers to its music services.
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