MTV gets Urge to kill iTunes

MTV will be flinging open the beta doors of its Urge download service tomorrow morning with its new best buddy, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 11.Fi

MTV will be flinging open the beta doors of its Urge download service tomorrow morning with its new best buddy, Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 11.

Firstly, the bad news – the service will initially be US-only and, although an international launch will happen, we’ve only been given the vague hint that it’ll be sometime this year.

Having flicked through Urge’s user guide and played with WMP11, though, we can announce that there’s plenty to garner the interest of non-iPod owners.

Urge offers both varieties of music store. You can buy individual tracks for 99 cents (like iTunes), or subscribe to an ‘all you can eat’, Napster-esque deal that lets you download unlimited tracks for $10 per month, and transfer them onto portable players from the likes of Samsung and iRiver for an extra five bucks.

So far, so average. The service’s raw figures don’t blow the competition away either – it has 2 million tracks (a million less then iTunes), 110,000 artists, 18 genres and 130 radio stations for you to peruse.

Where Urge could get interesting is with its exclusive content and iTunes-like synergy with WMP 11. MTV is promising regularly updated music blogs called ‘Informers’ to clue you up on different genres, in-depth interviews, lengthy ‘super playlists’ and feature stories, all of which will be free to access.

There’ll also be unique offerings from MTV’s past and present shows like Total Request Live and Unplugged, as well as content from VH1 and CMT, which should bring something new to the downloading buffet.

Click to read our impressions of WMP 11