MTV Offers URGE to Download Music

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MTV Networks is hoping there is room for one more music-download outlet as it prepares to unveil its “URGE” service in beta form Wednesday.

The service will launch with more than 2 million tracks that can be downloaded for 99 cents per song, with an option to buy full CDs starting at $9.95. It will also offer a monthly subscription service with unlimited downloads for $9.95, and for $5 more per month, subscribers can transfer songs from their computer to portable music players -- although that does not include the popular “iPod” players from Apple Computer Inc.

In addition, the URGE service will be integrated into the new version of Microsoft Corp.’s “Windows Media Player,” which is set to roll out in a few weeks. Until then, customers can download the player upgrade from the URGE or Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) Web sites.

But URGE is entering a market that already has several established competitors, most notably Apple’s iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes) and RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody (www.real.com/dmm/rhapsody) services. iTunes is the market leader, having sold more than 1 billion songs so far.

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