Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MTV, Microsoft To Develop Online Music Service

The service, dubbed Urge, will be integrated into the next version of Microsoft's Windows Media Player and will offer more than 2 million tracks for sale individually or as part of a subscription package.

Microsoft will build the technology behind URGE, which Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks will own and operate. MTV Networks declined to give details on URGE's pricing, but users can expect to pay different tiers for a la carte downloads, subscriptions, and for moving rented tracks to a portable music player, said Jason Hirschhorn, the company's chief digital officer.

Similar services typically charge around 99 cents for an individual track and $5 to $15 a month or more for a basic subscription package.

The current version of Microsoft's Media Player has built-in links to several music services, including MusicNow and Napster. A few months ago, Microsoft broke off talks with record labels to license music for a new online subscription service of its own. It did not explain the move.

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