"Best subscription based music service"4.0 starson by bobpenn
Pros: Large selection of music, sycs perfectly, 192K downloads
Cons: WMP11 crashes, can be slow page to page
Summary: I have Yahoo and Rhapsody to Go and tried out Urge yesterday. It took less than an hour to realize that this is the best subscription based music service out there, on the heels of matching iTunes for features and ease of use. And for a Windows based service, that's saying alot!
In fact, I now plan to drop Yahoo and migrate over to Urge.
The integration with WMP11 is strong, and makes using the service very easy. The search is very powerful, searching both Urge and your local library with what appears to be Ajax technology: it searches as you type letter by letter. Very nice and very quick.
The music selection is as full as any service I have seen, including iTunes. The reviews and background information on artists as you look around are more complete than Rhapsody's and much more than iTunes. And the integration to portable players, once you set up the sync relationship, which I think still needs some more simplification, is very easy and intuitive.
Overall, I believe it's the best service out there, and I would include iTunes in the mix for one reason: the subscription model.
I don't get people who don't see the value of the subscription model over the purchase model (of course, the Windows services offer both). I have a Creative Zen Vision:M. I can download 30GB of music for $15/month and listen to it on my PC, in my car, whereever I want. I don't see the need to purchase a this point, since the music I want to hear is available anywhere I want to hear it. True, I can't burn to CD, but why would I? CDs, to me, are somewhat useless, since I don't need them at home, portably, or in my car. True, I can give the music to my friends, which I could if I owned it, but I don't feel that this "limitation" is a fair point for purchase over subscription since it involves technically breaking the purchase agreement. So long as I maintain my subscrption, I essentially "own" the music.
As to the cost, fill your 30GB player at 99 cents a track and compare the cost to $15/month. Then factor in the fact that you can freely explore any music you want to discover at no additional cost to you past the monthly fee. To me, this is the strength of the subscription model: discovery of music at "no cost" in a sense. And listening to music is what this is all about, to me.
I feel that Apple will eventually move to a subscription model: they will likely do it first with movie "rentals" and then expand to music. I am sure they will sell it as a revolutionary way to explore you tastes. And we will all think that they "invented" this amazing new way to listen to your favorite music. And they will succeed, because Apple is brilliant at marketing and taking complex ideas to the public. I like Apple, always have, like the iPod (have three) and wish they had a subscription service. When they do, I may just jump ship and move 100% to iTunes.
But for now, Urge meets my musical needs with one exception: no support for podcasting. They say it's coming, but they have a long way to go to catch up to Apples incredible inplementation. I assume video is coming soon, too, and again, will face the Apple comparison.
But for a new service still in Beta, an very impressive start.Updated
I thought you may want to be aware of a strange policy over at MTV Urge:
Microsoft/MTV Urge only allows 2 players your entire life! No way to replace them! No upgrades allowed!
After four phone calls to Supervisors at MTV Urge, I believe that what I am about to report is true.
The policy of Urge is that you are allowed three PCs, of which each PC can authorize two mp3 players.
But, what happens if you sell a player, or one breaks? Or it's stolen? You're out of luck!!!
Here's the scenerio: you own one PC and have two players, both authorized to use Urge. Then they both get stolen, so you purchase two more. There is NO WAY Urge can tell your account to deauthorize the two stolen players and permit the two new ones!
Incredible, but true.
When I call Urge and talk to supervisors about this odd business model they tell me that I can use another PC for the new players. This would suggest that the solution is simple: just go out and purchase another PC!
I actually asked one if this meant that if my two players were stolen, I purchase two more to replace them, but I also don't purchase another PC (!) that I would NEVER be able to use the two new players on Urge on my original PC? The answer was yes. I actually asked, "for the rest of my life," and the answer again was, incredibly, "yes."
When I told them that Rhapsody, Napster and Yahoo can deauthorize individual players with a phone call, that I've actually do it, it didn't seem to resonate.
Finally, I called Microsoft's WMP11 support to see if they had any ideas. They told me they were aware of this problem, but it's a Urge issue. They also told me horror stories of the level of "support" Urge offers via telephone. We shared our misery, but the solution was still not in site!
I wonder if the management at Urge knows that their business model of two players for life will self destruct in a few weeks as people actually try purchase new mp3 players and are told to go out and buy another PC, or return the new players.