MTV Deal With Rhapsody Crushes URGE Users - InformationWeek

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8/22/2007
09:00 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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MTV Deal With Rhapsody Crushes URGE Users

Pity the poor users who've stuck with the iTunes alternative from Microsoft and MTV--the URGE online music store--only to have the rug pulled out from under their collective singin' feet, when RealNetworks and Verizon came calling at MTV's door.

Pity the poor users who've stuck with the iTunes alternative from Microsoft and MTV--the URGE online music store--only to have the rug pulled out from under their collective singin' feet, when RealNetworks and Verizon came calling at MTV's door.For once, Microsoft is not the bad guy here. It's MTV, which is pulling the plug on URGE, to partner up with Rhapsody and Real Networks.

Sadly for users, URGE has been the best option going for non-iPod owners, since it was launched in early 2006. I couldn't care less about the music "store" aspect of URGE; where it really shines is as a subscription service. For $14.95 a month, users could fill up their MP3 players with as many songs as they liked.

One must assume that URGE didn't give MTV as many subscribers as it had hoped. Okay, I can understand if that's the impetus behind the decision. But why on Earth did MTV kick URGE to the curb to glom onto Rhapsody, which is an arguably poorer design?

I've tried all three major non-iPod music services--URGE, Rhapsody, and Yahoo Music--and I can tell you that URGE's interface is far and away the best. It's also got a slightly better selection of music, though all three services are pretty much on par in this regard.

Why am I getting so indignant about a sector of the online business--non-iTunes music services--that most Net watchers ignore? Because I firmly believe that subscription services are the online music model of the future. The reason: They're they only real way to take in revenue which would otherwise be lost to piracy.



URGE is merging into Rhapsody. (Click picture to enlarge.)

Because if you believe that iPod owners pay iTunes for most of the music they listen to, then I've got an iPhone with a self-service battery to sell you.

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