MTV Networks, RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless have joined forces to create a new, integrated digital music service, which will replace the service each company currently offers.

MTV Networks, RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless have joined forces to create a new, integrated digital music service, which will replace the service each company currently offers.

The core of the new offering is a joint venture between RealNetworks and MTV, under which the two will merge their respective digital music services into one. The joint venture will be called Rhapsody America and the combined service will retain the Rhapsody name.

The move marks the end of MTV's Urge service. The Urge.com Web site now redirects to a Rhapsody splash page where existing Urge subscribers can use their login information to access the Rhapsody service. In the coming weeks and months, Urge subscribers will be asked to replace their existing Urge program -- currently embedded in Windows Media Player 11 -- with Rhapsody's software.

Fore more on Rhapsody America, visit Billboard.biz.


-- Antony Bruno, Denver







Pere Ubu, the National and Patti Smith are among the artists performing at this year's POP Montreal International Music Festival, to be held Oct. 3-7. Smith is also slated to speak during the conference portion of the festivities.

More than 300 bands will play throughout the Canadian city's venues. Other acts on the roster include Caribou, Final Fantasy, Ron Sexsmith, Fujiya And Miyagi, Bobby Conn, Chad Van Gaalan, Black Mountain, Sunset Rubdown, soul singer Cody Chesnutt, veteran avant-garde outfit Half Japanese, hip-hop crew the Federation and comedian Mort Sahl, with more to be announced.

Tickets are already on sale through the POP Montreal Web site.


-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.







U.K. production duo Soulsavers will release its second album, "It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land," Oct. 16 in North America via Columbia. The set has been out since April in the United Kingdom.

Among the guests are ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan, Doves frontman Jimi Goodwin, Will Oldham and P.W. Long. The repertoire includes a cover of Lanegan's "Kingdoms of Rain," the Rolling Stones' "No Expectations" and Neil Young's "Through My Sails."

As reported yesterday, Soulsavers (with Lanegan) will open several of the dates on the Jesus & Mary Chain's fall West Coast tour.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.