Sometimes you wonder why brands associated with one particular slice of life take so long to figure out how to extend themselves into new (but not foreign) territories.
This is how I see MTV's announcment today that it will enter the online music business with the launch of its new download service called "Urge." Remember, this is the cable network group that helped popularize music videos two decades ago ("Video Killed the Radio Star").
Making its debut (albeit a public beta) on Wednesday, Urge comes integrated into the newest version of Microsoft's Windows Media Player, which users of Microsoft's Windows will receive in coming weeks as an upgrade. Prior to that, the player upgrade will be available for download at the Urge and Microsoft Web sites.
At the time of launch, Urge is scheduled to have more than 2 million tracks, which can be purchased individually at 99 cents or as full albums starting at $9.95. The service also will offer unlimited downloads at a monthly rate of $9.95, or $14.95 for the ability to transfer songs to any of more than 100 compatible portable music players. Initially, URGE will also feature streaming videos, with video downloads becoming available for purchase later this year.
Urge will also be the featured music service on Microsoft's media player, which will continue to have built-in links to several other services. The company has begun clearing content from its vault of exclusive appearances by recording artists on staples such as "TRL" and "MTV Unplugged" for sale on Urge.
To read more about it, check out any number of Web sites; the Detroit News had particularly good coverage.