MTV and Microsoft team up for new digital music service ‘URGE’

Press Release:

MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced they have collaborated on the design and development of MTV Networks’ new digital music service called URGE. Set to debut domestically in 2006, URGE will provide an immersive music experience and will be integrated into a forthcoming version of Microsoft Windows Media Player. The collaboration unites MTV Networks’ music DNA, marketing strengths and powerful MTV, VH1 and CMT brands with the technology leadership and consumer reach of Microsoft.

URGE will offer rich entertainment programming and innovative tools designed to guide musical discovery and connect fans to the artists and music they love. Offering more than 2 million songs from the major labels and thousands of independents, URGE will encompass all musical genres, from alt-country to zydeco. In addition to a broad catalogue of music choices, URGE will deliver a deep well of exclusive MTV Networks programming and original, hand-crafted content.

URGE has garnered early support from Clive Davis, Chairman and CEO BMG U.S., Lyor Cohen, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, and musical superstars Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Gretchen Wilson.

“We live to connect artists and fans in the most imaginative ways possible,” said Van Toffler, MTV Networks Music Group President. “With our new service, we will be able to satisfy music lovers’ urges for all things music. In many ways, URGE will serve as a ‘psychic concierge,’ introducing fans to new artists and helping them to develop a deeper connection to old favorites.”

“By combining our expertise in digital media with the music leadership and marketing savvy of MTV Networks, we have created a powerful and unique way to experience music,” said Blair Westlake, Corporate Vice President of Media Technology and Convergence at Microsoft. “This landmark collaboration will bring innovative new experiences to millions of music fans.”

“As with everything we do at MTV Networks, every element of URGE is being developed with our audience in mind,” said Jason Hirschhorn, MTV Networks’ Chief Digital Officer. “Beyond providing a simple transactional service, URGE will provide a musical playground where fans can explore, customize, discover and download new music.”

Upon its debut next year, URGE will be promoted through multiple venues, including the MTV, VH1 and CMT channels, which on average collectively reach more than 165 million viewers U.S., as well as through the respective brands’ Web sites and Additional details of the new service will be unveiled in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Another Windows-only music service that sells music in a format that’s incompatible with Apple’s iPod (unless you burn a disc and import into iTunes)?

A WMA-based, Windows-only, iPod-incompatible two million+ song library doesn’t trump the market-dominating iTunes Music Store’s two million+ song library that integrates seamlessly with the market-dominating iPod and also happens to offer major TV shows and thousands of music videos. Speaking of music videos, does MTV even run them anymore? You want to see your favorite artists’ music videos? That’s right, you just pop into iTunes Music Store.

iPod is the key and MTV and Microsoft don’t have it, no matter how much marketing they put behind URGE. Too little, too late, Microsoft. For the health of Real’s Rob Glaser, however, hopefully the defib was charged up and nearby when he heard about this. It sounds like Real’s new partner Microsoft wants to finish them off once and for all.

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Related article:
MTV: URGE music service with Microsoft not targeting iPod, iTunes users; Real may be hurt by deal – December 13, 2005


  1. URGE will serve as a ‘psychic concierge,’ introducing fans to new artists and helping them to develop a deeper connection to old favorites.”

    Wow, a psychic concierge, I can just imagine the jingles

    -Thinks for sure.
    -Stop thinking and let us make your decisions for you. Oh wait, can’t use that one, the government owns it.
    -Where did we want you to go today?
    -Intel Inside Idiot outside, we had the URGE to bring them together.

    At least the MTV video mp3 player will have something no other player has. A veejay that talks for 30 seconds between each song.

    Gosh this is all too funny.

  2. Here is MTV’s schedule on Wednesday, Dec 14:

    12am Room Raiders
    1am Punk’d
    4am MTV after hours
    6am MTV Video wakeup (actual “music” I suppose)
    9am MTV Hits
    10am TRL (??)
    11am MTV unplugged
    12pm Next
    1pm Pimp my ride
    5pm TRL
    6pm Live in ’05
    8pm Nokia Unwired At Hard Rock Live
    9pm Made
    10pm The real world Austin

    I live in Canada so I don’t know what these shows contain, but it looks to be largely non-music.
    The name URGE is retarded, it shows that Microsoft doesn’t have any brains left.

  3. Van Toffler, MTV Networks Music Group President says, “In many ways, URGE will serve as a ‘psychic concierge’…”

    Psychic consierge ?!?!? Give me a fscking break.

    MTV is too late. This lame attempt at digital download marketing will simply join the ranks of Napster, Yahoo! Music, and Losers.

    MaWo: ‘court’. As in, “URGE is too little, too late. URGE doesn’t even belong on the same court as iTunes. The game has already begun and the score is 40-Love.”

  4. Is MTV a music-channel? Negative! And is Microsoft a creative company, negative!

    But Apple have some thing more to do. They should do a mobile, like “iCall” a phone and a musicplayer like iPod in one! Not the Motorola version, just Apples own version with great layout and sexy design.

    iPod Nano under the christmas tree 😀

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