USA Today reviews URGE music service: crashed often, not all videos played, trouble playing music

“Going up against Apple’s iTunes/iPod online music empire is a colossal challenge for any competitor. That’s true even for the most powerful software company on the planet, and one of the most venerable brands in music,” Edward C. Baig reports for USA Today. “…Since Urge, unlike iTunes, is a fee-based subscription service that lets you listen to boatloads of music, it more directly competes against Napster, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Yahoo. Buoyed by MTV, Urge measures up favorably and is the best-looking contender, though you can find similar content elsewhere.”

“As you would expect, the service is sprinkled with music videos, but they’re not always easy to find and some failed to play. I was also put off having to watch commercials on a few of the videos. At the moment, there are no podcasts, though that is on the Urge road map. Perhaps befitting its beta status, the Media Player responded slowly at times and crashed all too frequently. Each time I had to sign into my account again. Two of my USA TODAY colleagues encountered deeper problems playing songs. So Urge isn’t all there yet. But it shows potential and is worth considering if you don’t have an iPod and prefer the subscription model to buying songs individually,” Baig writes.

Full article here.
Okay, it’s a beta, but how many reviews have you read where the “cons” were “crashed often and was slow to respond at times. Not all videos played. Colleagues had trouble playing music at all?” Yikes. Windows users’ willingness to accept mediocrity and worse is unmatched. Maybe Napster and Real won’t be crushed by URGE so quickly after all.

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Related articles:
MTV, Microsoft URGE music service begins life with a severe handicap – May 17, 2006
MTV’s and Microsoft’s URGE should concern also-rans like Real, Napster and Sony – not Apple – May 15, 2006
MTV’s and Microsoft’s iPod-incompatible URGE online music outfit faces uphill battle – May 15, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006
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
Study shows Apple iTunes Music Store pay-per-download model preferred over subscription service – April 11, 2005


  1. I intsalled WMP11 and wasn’t impressed. It is much better than previous versions of windows media but it’s no iTunes. They tried to add too many features and too much eye candy. Eye candy and features are nice but when they make using a program difficult then there is a problem. They tried to put together iTunes/iPhoto together in one package but it falls short of expectations. There are too many tabs to do tasks the you can do in just one window (with no tabs) on itunes. Furthermore, it doesn’t have the capabilites that iPhoto gives you. It’s nice to see MS finally trying to improve windows media (becuase it’s been horrible for years) but they still have much work to do to try and compete with the ease of use of Apple programs.

  2. Who prefers the subscription model to buying songs individually? No one I have ever met. Who wants to lose all the songs you thought you bought when you stop subscribing to the service?

    And who wants to deal with a WMA player and PaysForSure?

    The iPod succeeds because the player, the jukebox software, (the computer if you have a Mac), and the music store are all made by the same company and tightly integrated. The Microsoft/Dell model of “every piece made by someone else” doesn’t make for a very easy or user frieldly music-buying experience. Or should I say “music-renting” experience, in the case of Napster and URGE.

  3. URGE’s huge problem right off the bat, and it’s a potential deal-killer, is that it doesn’t support iPods. And they’re pushing this as a feature, the poor bastards. It’s far easier for Apple to continue to improve the iPod and add content and features to iTMS (and a subscription model if there is a demand for it) than it is for URGE to convince people to ditch their iPods and buy an inferior player so they can use an inferior service. Microsoft-MTV are struggling to head off a juggernaut with enormous and growing momentum, and good luck to them. In the immortal words of Mr. Miyagi, they’re going to “get squash, just like grape.” Their shareholders are going to punish them for their folly.

  4. Why does Microsoft have to have a music download service, exactly? Why can’t they just focus on the things that they’re profitable at (operating systems and office suites) and let someone else take care of the music downloading? Why does Microsoft have to try to muscle in and take over every little niche of the IT industry? Why does Microsoft see every company that exists in the world as a direct competitor?

    Seriously…anybody know?

    Tom Cruise?

  5. No Zealot … this is MacDaily News … of course it is biased … we like Apple and Macs … what did you think you were going to read … go elsewhere if you don’t like it …

  6. Gartenberg:

    “In terms of a music subscription services, URGE shines. The onboard catalog of music, combined with great editorial content and new innovations like music feeds make this service really stand out from the pack. Add in a good portable device and you start to see how the market can potentially shift over time to a new model. “

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