Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MTV to Sell Online but Shuns the IPod

The big news this week so far is MTV's partnership with Microsoft to launch an online music service called URGE. The Los Angeles Times reports that the new service will, surprise, surpise, not be Apple Ipod compatible. According to the article, MTV, which is very late to the Apple-dominated game, is counting on its global reach through more than 100 channels and has "plans to offer music videos, television shows and 2 million song tracks through individual sales or a monthly subscription service." Specifics such as pricing and which songs and videos would be offered weren't disclosed.

URGE will be "integrated into a new version of Media Player that Microsoft plans to unveil at next month's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas."

Michael Goodman at Yankee Group said, "MTV has done an incredible job of building trust with young music consumers. But there's a line between entertainment and infomercials, and there's a real risk they will damage their brand if they are seen as just another retailer trying to sell something."

Mike McGuire at Gartner noted another risk lay in whether portable music-player manufacturers "will put bells and whistles on their devices that may interfere with MTV's and Microsoft's service. If a listener gets endless error messages when they are putting MTV's songs on their device, they'll blame MTV," he said.

Obviously, MTV has a ton of content that is potentially very attractive to its young, mobile target audience, and a lot of it isn't even music related! However with little detail on pricing and services, it's really hard to say whether this is hot air or viable. I guess we just have to wait until CES to learn more...