MTV Launches Beta Version of Microsoft-Developed Music Download Service

MTV on Monday will release a beta version of its online music download service, dubbed Urge, which was developed in part by Microsoft, The New York Times reports.

Urge will be promoted within Microsoft’s newest edition of its Windows Media Player, which is also to be released in a test version on Monday, according to the Times.

The new service will compete with those offered by companies like Napster and RealNetworks, and it will be similarly priced. Individuals looking to listen to music on their computers can pay $9.95 a month for unlimited downloads from a library of more than 2 million songs, and those who want to use portable players can pay $14.95 per month; but it they fail to make a payment, access to their music libraries will be blocked, according to the Times. Web surfers will also have the option of paying 99 cents each for songs that can’t be blocked, the Times reports.

The service will work with many popular portable music players, but users of Apple Computer’s hugely popular iPod will have to stick with the iTunes store for downloads, as Urge will not be compatible with iPods, according to the Times.

Some of Urge’s content will be generated by live shows broadcast on MTV television networks, and much of it will be related to current TV programs—a feature the company hopes will set it apart from the plethora of music download services currently available on the Web, the Times reports.

The service includes 550 pre-programmed playlists designated for specific moods or styles of music, as well as 130 Web radio stations, and MTV has already launched 24 blogs to keep users up to date on current music and trends, according to the Times.

Urge will function in conjunction with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, offering users new, simplified music search methods and navigation techniques, the Times reports.

This article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.

For related news coverage, read NTT DoCoMo to Launch Music Download Service.

Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.

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