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View Full Version : MTV preps iTunes killer Urge launch


MacBytes
May 15, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: MTV preps iTunes killer Urge launch (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060515115139)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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russed
May 15, 2006, 11:07 AM
yeh another 'killer' service/ product.

itunes or the ipod will be 'killed' by a product that isnt releaced with so much hype. insead of copying the same formula it needs to innovate and offer something new. this mtv thing doesnt do that and so will fail.

BenRoethig
May 15, 2006, 12:21 PM
Bring it on MS.

iGary
May 15, 2006, 12:25 PM
Yeah, uh whatever.

Until they have the Holy Trinity™ (player, jukebox, service), they should not even bother.

p0intblank
May 15, 2006, 01:03 PM
I can only see this appealing to a number of teenagers. This will undoubtedly fail, and that's not the Apple-biased side of me talking. Without the software and hardware, I can't see this working out.

Also, does this service work with the iPod?

Trowaman
May 15, 2006, 01:20 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you:

The Last Challenge.

After this, M$ will have given it their try leaving no other tech companies remaining to try and take down the mighty Apple. Once we overcome WMP 11, and we will, there will be no one left to stop Apple until the next generation of media formats come around or if Apple somehow stops updating their products.

Full uncontested victory, one application away. :D

steve_hill4
May 15, 2006, 01:43 PM
I agree, last throw of the dice for Microsoft into this market. If they fail, it could very well end up as Apple's market. The only way Apple will lose the market after this would be if the mobile phone companies enter into the market more. Currently it is reasonably moot, but with higher capacity phones being released, the market will shift to all in one devices.

Apple know this and the iPhone rumours show they are trying to hold onto the market post iPod. Assuming MS lose this round, Apple win the dedicated market, but the integrated market could be anyones.

slipperychicken
May 15, 2006, 01:52 PM
I don't see how, given MTV's demographic, a site that won't work with iPods will be at all successful. It certainly won't be any "itunes killer". MTV picked the wrong partner in Microsoft. It'll be interesting to see how long they pump funding into this beast before they "migrate" existing customers to someplace else.

war
May 15, 2006, 01:57 PM
MTV telling me about music is about as useful as Microsoft telling me about computing. Each one is incompetent in their respective field. Birds of a feather flock together.

liketom
May 15, 2006, 02:00 PM
errr i thought we was beyond the "Music" thing and on to Movies now?

o well whatever.. if Microsoft MUST chuck good money down the drain:D

lmalave
May 15, 2006, 02:12 PM
Yeah, uh whatever.

Until they have the Holy Trinity™ (player, jukebox, service), they should not even bother.

That moment has arrived, my friends. If you'll notice, Urge is a joint MTV / Microsoft venture. Urge integrates seamlessly with the new Windows Media Player 11.

The only thing that's missing is the player. Although there are various dedicated players like the Samsung Z5, I think that Microsoft's major push will be in the mobile phone / PDA market since there they *do* have a player (in the form of Windows Media Player Mobile for Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs). So Microsoft doesn't have to actually manufacture the device - they just have to get the phone manufacturer to use the Windows Mobile
platform.

In case you haven't noticed, two of the phones that have generated the most buzz in the last couple of months are the T-Mobile SDA and the Palm Treo 700w, both Windows Mobile phones. I think Microsoft is going to become dominant in the Smartphone area, and with the next version of Windows Mobile they will move to more mass-market phones by emphasizing entertainment as much as productivity.

For example, not only do I see MS promoting Windows Media Player Mobile as a way to turn your phone into an iPod, but I also see them partnering with wireless providers to use Windows Media for streaming audio and video content. Likewise, I foresee a major upgrade to the mobile version of Internet Explorer. And if they're smart, they'll make it easier in Window Mobile to navigate to and launch Java apps, since vast majority of the cool games and entertainment apps are currently implemented in Java (current versions of Windows Mobile support Java but you have to dig deep to actually navigate to the Java apps).

swingerofbirch
May 15, 2006, 02:29 PM
Doesn't Microsoft already have MSN Music? Are they scrapping this?

When you install Messenger Live Beta ( on Windows), it asks if you want to install as an add-on the Rhapsody music service....wtf!

So they already have their own music service, they are promoting a competitor's music service, and are launching an all new music service! There must be a lot of people not talking to each other at Microsoft.

Edit: The article says that URGE will have original MTV programming which iTunes already has (8 MTV shows).

steve_hill4
May 15, 2006, 02:32 PM
In case you haven't noticed, two of the phones that have generated the most buzz in the last couple of months are the T-Mobile SDA and the Palm Treo 700w, both Windows Mobile phones.
Except most Palm users, (like myself), wouldn't buy the Treo 700, and prefer the 650. It's actually even a better spec than the 700, IIRC, and Palm seem to almost promote it above the 700. They have only appeared to have adopted Windows Mobile partially to give choice and ensure market share.

If anything, companies like Palm and those using Symbian smartphones, (still ahead of the competition), need to up their marketing. Every person I have spoken to who have been looking at a Windows Mobile based PDA has tried a Palm OS based machine too, then either gone on to buy the Palm or at least been in two minds which to purchase. I like the Microsoft based efforts, but they aren't miles ahead of Palm, if anything they are level pegging at the moment.

If only the next Palm OS would arrive.

DWKlink
May 15, 2006, 02:40 PM
Did anyone else notice how closely the "G" in urge's logo looks like the quicktime logo.

Seriously, look at the 2 side by side... its quite eerie:

http://www.urge.com/comingsoon/index.jhtml?_requestid=61203

kgarner
May 15, 2006, 02:47 PM
In case you haven't noticed, two of the phones that have generated the most buzz in the last couple of months are the T-Mobile SDA and the Palm Treo 700w, both Windows Mobile phones.
Not really disagreeing with you there, but the Smart Phone market is but a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cell phone market. Try this on for size--go to the mall or any place where there are lots of people. Take a count of how many people you see with cell phones, and then see haw many of those cell phones are the Smart Phone variety. Its a niche market.

The iPod on the other hand has exploded out of the niche and has become mainstream. People that would not ordinarliy be a demographic associated with iPods are using them. That is a major difference.

The other problem that MTV and Microsoft have on their hands is the fact that there isn't a lot of money to be made from sales of music. Apple just recently announced that they are now turning a profit on the iTunes Music Store and that is with huge sales numbers. MTV and Microsoft will have to split the costs and revenues so that leaves each with a smaller slice. Compound that with the fact that they don't have hardware to sell to make up the difference and I don't see a lot of upside for either of them in this venture.

The hardware manufacturers will make the money for the players and they have to figure out a way to generate iTunes-like sales numbers to create a profit. And then they have to split it between them. How long before they get tired of throwing money away?

PCMacUser
May 15, 2006, 02:58 PM
It's interesting to see how many people in these forums would love to see an anti-competitive monopoly owned by Apple...

Remember - competition is good, it forces innovation! Apple are good at innovating, but let's not let them rest on their laurels...

gloss
May 15, 2006, 03:01 PM
CNet's review of the WMP11/Urge/MP3 player trifecta seems very, very positive. Interesting.

saurus
May 15, 2006, 03:03 PM
The last time you watched MTV and VH1 was when? Back when they played music videos? Thought so... MTV is sooooo yesterday

Now their main demographic appears to be mid to late teenage kids with nothing else better to do and little to no cash to spend, and they know more about P2P than we do...

On cue to Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust"...

AlmostThere
May 15, 2006, 03:13 PM
Doesn't Microsoft already have MSN Music? Are they scrapping this?
...
So they already have their own music service, they are promoting a competitor's music service, and are launching an all new music service! There must be a lot of people not talking to each other at Microsoft.


MS will almost certainly be promoting their platform. MS tend to go for as broad a market coverage as they can.


Until they have the Holy Trinity™ (player, jukebox, service), they should not even bother.

There is no need for this to be provided by a single manufacturer though. What all the non-Apple companies need to do is work on a single store to computer interface and a single computer to media player interface.
Attempts so far have been hit-and-miss at best, albeit improving slightly. Plays-for-sure should have worked off the bat.

The end result would be a single app (Window's Media Player) offering multiple stores. One week Rhapsody offer 10¢ off everything in the Top 10, another time Urge offer $2 off a series of Lost or a "Buy 2 get 1 Free" on 24. Your library and players allow you to seamlessly switch to the best offer for what you want. Players can compete on features, better screens or form factors, but all can be synched with the same software, because they all use a single interface.

Naturally, if you don't like WMP, any other conforming software can be used.

But, and this is the big BUT, music (media) stores are still fighting the standards battles web browsers were 10 years ago. It shouldn't be just Urge that fits seamlessly into WMP, it should be every store.

A single company is not the pre-requisite for effective competition - cross platform standards and co-operation are.

kgarner
May 15, 2006, 03:23 PM
The end result would be a single app (Window's Media Player) offering multiple stores. One week Rhapsody offer 10¢ off everything in the Top 10, another time Urge offer $2 off a series of Lost or a "Buy 2 get 1 Free" on 24. Your library and players allow you to seamlessly switch to the best offer for what you want. Players can compete on features, better screens or form factors, but all can be synched with the same software, because they all use a single interface.
I like this idea. But why does it have to be tied to a program at all. If they really want to compete why not just sell me media files? Set up a website and let me download it and then let me do with it what I want. If I want to use and iTunes like program to organize and view I can. If I want to sort them in folders and use a media playing application I can.

That would be a useful service. But, like you said, we still have to standardize things. Not the media files, those are pretty easy to deal with. I would prefer one codec, but as long as I can get whatever codec I need I don't really care. The issue is the DRM, which isn't going away anytime soon. Once that gets standardized or at least licesnsed to whatever media playing program you like, this idea can't really take off.

lmalave
May 15, 2006, 03:40 PM
Not really disagreeing with you there, but the Smart Phone market is but a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cell phone market. Try this on for size--go to the mall or any place where there are lots of people. Take a count of how many people you see with cell phones, and then see haw many of those cell phones are the Smart Phone variety. Its a niche market.

The iPod on the other hand has exploded out of the niche and has become mainstream. People that would not ordinarliy be a demographic associated with iPods are using them. That is a major difference.

The other problem that MTV and Microsoft have on their hands is the fact that there isn't a lot of money to be made from sales of music. Apple just recently announced that they are now turning a profit on the iTunes Music Store and that is with huge sales numbers. MTV and Microsoft will have to split the costs and revenues so that leaves each with a smaller slice. Compound that with the fact that they don't have hardware to sell to make up the difference and I don't see a lot of upside for either of them in this venture.

The hardware manufacturers will make the money for the players and they have to figure out a way to generate iTunes-like sales numbers to create a profit. And then they have to split it between them. How long before they get tired of throwing money away?

Right, but like I said Microsoft's *next* version of Windows Mobile will aim for the mass market. With the current version, I think they're being finally successfull in gaining some traction - I see more and more of the T-Mobile SDA and its Cingular cousin (basically the same phone without the dedicated music buttons). Maybe there's a lot of Treo 700w's out there too, but since they look similar to all the other Treos, I can't tell.

As far as the profit issue, I don't think Microsoft is concerned about making money from Urge. The main thing they're concerned with is getting people to use Microsoft's WMV format and DRM technology. And I still think that what they're concerned about, first and foremost, is growing the market share for Windows mobile phones, and the next logical step is to create a version of the Windows Media Mobile player that integrates with Urge seamlessly the way the desktop WMP 11 does. Microsoft is being very smart here. The next major platform battle is definitely for mobile phone phones and it's currently very fragmented and definitely up for grabs. If Microsoft can come up with a killer multimedia-centric mobile platform, they'll be in great shape to grab major market share.

As far as MTV, again I think it's a play for market share (or at least mindshare). I think they see that in order to get mindshare as a Music media brand, the Music Store / Music player model is where it's currently at. Web sites are sooo 5 years ago. I think it makes a lot of sense for them at this juncture to have a rich app-based interface. And then don't forget about the mobile strategy: I think they're making a a play along with Microsoft for the mobile market. A couple of years from now we might see MTV being one of the major players in online music, helped by not just the explosion in home broadband access, but also by the explosion in high-speed mobile data services.

AlmostThere
May 15, 2006, 04:05 PM
I like this idea. But why does it have to be tied to a program at all. If they really want to compete why not just sell me media files? Set up a website and let me download it and then let me do with it what I want. If I want to use and iTunes like program to organize and view I can. If I want to sort them in folders and use a media playing application I can.


Integration with a media player type programme is just to offer the convenience that iTunes does already. No reason why a web site couldn't offer a lite version too, in theory*.

All the technology to do this exists already (OK, Plays for Sure has had some problems) but web sites are often just a HTML front end to an assortment of XML processing services running on the servers.

IIRC, DVD Jon, of DVD cracking, DeCSS fame, actually made a compatible app that interfaced with iTMS - all it would take is a suitable API (which certainly exists internally) from MS to attach this to WMP and Bob's your uncle, purchasing from iTMS in Windows Media Player. Can anyone think of a more perfect combination ;) ;)

*I think there might be some restrictions in that where the DRM is actually added at the client end, rather than the server (i.e. the transmitted data is the unprotected music file), some processing stage would needed to be added by the browser or performed on the server, adding extra computational load.

[edit - I would also add that this is not the only technical solution to some sort of universal music store but is one straight forward way in which knocking a few heads together could lead to a comparable experience to Apple's]

balamw
May 15, 2006, 04:12 PM
Right, but like I said Microsoft's *next* version of Windows Mobile will aim for the mass market.
Remember that the real "mass market" for cell phones is the small, free to $49 phones that most people actually use. I sincerely doubt that any of these will have sufficient processing power to run Windows Mobile any day now. Even if the processing power was there Windows Mobile is much less appealing on a truly pocketable phone than on a "smart phone" with a larger sceen and usable input devices. The Motorola MPX-200 was an attempt to produce a smaller Windows powered phone that failed, 'cause it wasn't small or usable enough.

EDIT: I've said it before IMHO the real killer of all iPod killers is that they don't (so far) make it easy to migrate away from iTunes/iTMS/iPod. Until someone gives me a comparable end-to-end experience , and a way to migrate my existing content over I really have no incentive to change.

B

hsilver
May 15, 2006, 05:18 PM
I haven't seen the specs of Urge but I wonder what kind of DRM they are going to impose. Not everyone is happy with Apple's DRM but it is liveable. I imagine Microsoft's DRM flavor could be more limiting and make Urge far less attractive.

steve_hill4
May 15, 2006, 06:03 PM
The hardware manufacturers will make the money for the players and they have to figure out a way to generate iTunes-like sales numbers to create a profit. And then they have to split it between them. How long before they get tired of throwing money away?
Think XBOX 360, (and most other games consoles actually, all make a loss on initial hardware). Microsoft is willing to keep throwing money away on projects if they think that ultimately they will achieve market share and then can creep into profit.

This is in many ways what the iTMS has done. It barely makes anything, but has started to make a small profit. Apple knows the money is in the hardware on this one, (when they actually get a total of about 5¢ per song which has to cover all bandwidth costs etc), and so uses the store as a carrot to the player. I can buy an older album for £5, where Apple sells it to me for about £8, so my iPod gets filled with CDs, Apple makes nothing from this, only the hardware initially. Having a web-based store is also not beneficial, as This Week in Tech pointed out the other week, the slowest aspects of the iTMS are web based, everything else is smooth and integrated. If you have no hardware to sell and little customer base, you lose money all over.

I hope they do make some in-roads on Apple though, as it will make them strive to be better. As it stands though, Apple are too far ahead for them to lose it overnight.

sorryiwasdreami
May 15, 2006, 06:19 PM
I love how the "G" in the URGE logo is a jack of the Quicktime "Q" Logo.

http://www.urge.com/comingsoon/index.jhtml?_requestid=80616

Dane D.
May 15, 2006, 08:08 PM
What a joke, garbage TV meets garbage software. The brainless MTV viewer and the clueless MS. I wonder if it will work and if the users can figure out how to use the service.:D