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September 11, 2007 5:20 PM

RealNetworks in better shape than Britney

Posted by Tricia Duryee

Britney Spears got a ton of attention at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards for being out of shape and performing poorly.

That was far from the case for Seattle's RealNetwork's Rhapsody digital music service, which seemed to be on top of its game at the show.

Last month, Seattle-based RealNetworks and MTV Networks, a division of Viacom, announced a wide-ranging partnership in which the two companies will market and operate the Rhapsody service together.

The unveiling event was set to take place at the video awards, where Rhapsody was supposed to get a lot of airtime, as part of the partnership that required financial and other commitments by both MTV and RealNetworks.

I missed the show (it's hard when you don't have cable), but from what MTV and RealNetworks said, it sounded as if Rhapsody pulled off a pretty unusual stunt.

At this year's show, held at Las Vegas' Palms Casino, in addition to the main awards ceremony, MTV had several guest suites, where artists such as Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy and the Foo Fighters played for smaller audiences.

Rhapsody focused on these shows. When the awards show went for a break, Rhapsody streamed video from the suites live for a commercial.

The Foo Fighters, in one example, said in a shot: "Hear it at"


A screen shot from RealNetwork's MTV Music Video Awards commercial.

The next screen said, "Think Foo Fighters."


The next image in the same commercial.

Some integration of the two services has already begun, with Urge subscribers being allowed to log in to both Urge and Real's Rhapsody service, but the main integration of the two services has yet to occur.

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