“For years, MTV Networks Inc. sat on the sidelines while Apple Computer Inc., RealNetworks Inc. and others racked up sales of music downloads. Now the cable network group that helped popularize music videos two decades ago is entering the online music fray with URGE, a new service that makes its public beta debut on Wednesday. URGE comes integrated into the newest version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Player, which users of Microsoft’s Windows will receive in coming weeks as an upgrade. Prior to that, the player upgrade will be available for download at the URGE and Microsoft Web sites,” Alex Veiga reports for The Associated Press. “At launch, URGE will have more than 2 million tracks, which can be purchased individually at 99 cents or as full albums starting at around $9.95. The service also will offer unlimited downloads at a monthly rate of $9.95, or $14.95 for the ability to transfer songs to any of more than 100 compatible portable music players. Initially, URGE will also feature streaming videos, with video downloads becoming available for purchase later this year. URGE will also be the featured music service on Microsoft’s media player, which will continue to have built-in links to several other services.”
“URGE enters an online music market struggling to compete with online piracy and the dominance of Apple’s iTunes Music Store and its market-leading iPod digital music player. And like established rivals RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Napster Inc., URGE is not compatible with Apple’s Macintosh computers or its market-leading iPod digital music player. That incompatibility, combined with the availability of music on Internet file-sharing networks, has made subscription music plans a tough sell,” Veiga reports.
Full article here.
Not only is MTV’s URGE outfit iPod-incompatible, it also excludes Mac OS X users (or those personal computer users with the most discretionary income at their disposal for things like, oh, say, multiple and repeated online music purchases, for one example). Not very smart, MTV. MTV’s entry poses little or no threat to Apple’s inclusive iTunes Music Store which serves Mac, Windows PC, and iPod users, but RealNetworks and Napster executives’ should ow ratchet up their sweating even more, if possible.
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Oppenheimer downgrades RealNetworks based on Microsoft’s ‘URGE’ partnership with MTV – December 15, 2005
MTV-Microsoft URGE music service not targeting iPod, iTunes users; Real CEO PlayedForSure? – December 13, 2005
MTV and Microsoft team up for new digital music service ‘URGE’ – December 13, 2005