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Microsoft, MTV Put URGE Service Live

Microsoft on Wednesday released the first beta build of Windows Media Player 11, which includes the company’s new URGE subscription music service it co-developed with MTV Networks. iRiver also began shipping its Clix portable music player to complete the end-to-end offering.

The URGE service touts a library of nearly two million tracks, and has a two-tier service plan. Those who wish to listen to tracks on their PCs only can register for a $9.95 USD All Access monthly plan, while those wishing to download to compatible players can need to sign up for the $14.95 USD All Access to Go monthly tier.

Both subscription plans come with access to 130 commercial-free radio stations and more than 500 playlists, as well as feeds of automatically updating playlists. Music blogs, user-created mixes, editorial content, and MTV channel hubs will also be part of URGE.

In addition to the subscription offerings, URGE allows for per-track downloads at 99 cents a song. Unlike the tracks downloaded through the subscription plan, users would still be able to listen to these songs after cancellation of those plans.

On the backend, URGE is powered by MusicNet, the same company that provides the digital music library for Yahoo! Music Unlimited. Songs are streamed in a bitrate of 128 kbps, while downloads are offered at 192 kbps.

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