Rhapsody Launches Campaign

NEW YORK Rhapsody wants you to play anywhere.

The Seattle-based music subscription site, a joint venture of Real Network and MTV Networks, today launched a new  campaign from Publicis-backed Droga5.

In the 30-second “Play Anywhere,” an animated white line draws the different things Rhapsody can be played on against a light blue background. These range from the practical, e.g., a computer and MP3 player, to the more prosaic, e.g., on your way home or at your girlfriend’s house.

Droga began working with Rhapsody late last year in a push that included a TV spot starring singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and rap duo The Cool Kids. Rhapsody parted ways with previous agency Sedgwick Road, Seattle, in late 2006. Droga5 was chosen in a review with undisclosed participants.

Optimedia U.S. has picked up the media portion of the business, resulting from existing ties to both partners through Publicis, its parent company. “We kept in touch and discovered they were really looking to ramp up this product. We got involved in the very early stages,” said Antony Young, president, noting the media agency convinced both parties to go without a full-service pitch.

There are no incumbents; its agency dealings are a first for the newly formed joint venture.

“It’s an interesting brief because it’s a start-up business and it creates a new sector — and for us it’s kind of a new venture into a [different kind of] media business,” added Young.

According to reports, the overall marketing budget is $230 million, with a five-year commitment to building the new service.

“The idea is that music can find you in any possible place,” said Neil Smith, vp. marketing, Rhapsody. “We want the consumer to have the freedom to listen to whatever they want wherever they are.”

Rhapsody will also continue to have a presence on big events such as the upcoming Country Music Television Awards in April. During each performance, a graphic will be seen on screen directing viewers to rhapsody.com to hear more of the artists’ music. Last year Rhapsody’s animated bumpers and calls to action were seen on shows such as MTV’s Video Music Awards, VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors and Spike’s Scream Awards.

“Rhapsody is a remarkable service that instantly changes the way you think about music,” said David Droga in a statement, creative chairman, Droga5. “We’re creating an integrated campaign that fully communicates the emotional power of the Rhapsody experience.”