MTV may be the new kid on the music subscription block, but it's no stranger to the industry. Indeed, the company has many years of experience under its belt, and it certainly shows in Urge. The service is easy to use, visually appealing, and chock-full of content, and it has a decided advantage as the default music source in Windows Media Player (WMP). Best of all, Urge offers plenty of fun, simple ways to discover new music.
Installing Urge is a no-brainer--it's wrapped up in WMP 11. Windows XP user need only upgrade to the latest version of the app. When you launch WMP 11, simply click the dedicated Urge button in the upper-right corner to go to the service's colorful main page. (A picture is worth a thousand words. For a closer look at Windows Media Player 11 and MTV Urge, check out our slide show.)
If it's your first time using Urge, you have the option of signing up for a 14-day free trial to the service's All Access to Go package, which regularly runs $14.99 per month. This top-level subscription includes 128Kbps streams, 192Kbps WMA downloads, and transfers to up to two compatible portable devices, such as the iRiver Clix. Alternatively, you can pay $9.99 for the All Access program, which doesn't allow for transfers to portable devices. If a subscription isn't your cup of tea, you can go à la carte and purchase individual tracks for 99 cents each. Purchased tracks can be authorized on up to five PCs, while subscription downloads are limited to three.
Navigating around Urge is as simple as clicking your desired option on the main screen or by using the nav tree in the left-hand pane of WMP. Just as you would in your own library, you can view music by artist, album, songs, genre, year, or rating. Unfortunately, there's no podcast section, though MTV reps assert one is in the works. There is, however, a charts section that includes Billboard's top tracks from every year since 1946, as well as Urge's own charts, with others to be added later. Once you get to an artist page, you're rewarded with a plethora of editorial content. Many pages include detailed biographies, links to related artists, and a handy Auto-Mix feature that creates a playlist of the artist's and related artists' songs. All the artist pages we looked at included links to the playlists and radio stations that contained songs by the artist.