Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Urge goes live but UK not invited

Headline says it all really. Urge, which looks like a great service, has gone live this morning, along with the release of WMP11, but is not accepting UK users. Urge is MTV and Microsoft's combined attempt to beat iTunes, currently the dominant online music distribution service by a very long way. Obviously this is because they couldn't be bothered to license the music for the rest of the world, even though it is largely the same record companies. What would have been a far more sensible approach would be to have licensed the music for the whole world.

Also annoying, and amateur, is the fact that it didn't tell me when I tried to download Urge that it wasn't going to work, or even when I installed it, or even once I had installed it. At this point, instead of an error message, it just didn't work. I had to dig it out of the FAQ to find out that I couldn't use it.

So I'm afraid there won't be any review. I will review it when/if it comes out in the UK, because I am very interested in using it. I currently pay £15/month to Napster, and they have a very weak program as well as an increasingly small library (its not that they're losing songs from the library, they're just not getting any new ones really). So Urge would probably have had at least one other customer had they decided to launch in the UK.

What the separate launch probably means is that the prices will be higher, yet again, in the UK when compared to the US. I suspect that we will be paying not $15 (£8-9) when/if the service comes out in the UK, but £15.

PS. I loved Valleywag's response to hearing that MTV was aiming at people without iPods:

MTV plans to kill iTunes. The plan: "We will concentrate on people who don't have iPods." So, like, music for uncool people? [Financial Times]
Spose that makes me uncool then.

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