MTV is set to release its Urge music download client, which was first announced at last years CES. Though I feel that MTV could be a valiant opponent to itunes, the one critical element they are missing is the Ipod. Other MP3 players including the Creative Zen, and the Iriver are lame examples that just don't stack up in terms of trendiness and style.
In fact, they suck. Ipods own 50% of the music player market share and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon.
MTV is also unfamiliar with online distribution and if their last online attempt is any indication, it will stink. Teaming up with Microsoft may perhaps be their saving grace.
What MTV does have going for itself is its long term partnerships with record companies. The only issue with this is the adoption of independent music, in which MTV has missed the boat completely. They will really have to flex their marketing muscle in order to sell this product and lure people away from their Ipods.
Urge's business model also makes sense. Instead of just adopting a pay per download model, Microsoft and MTV have opted to also include a subscription based service, where you pay a monthly fee for unlimited downloads. This is likely to appeal to the teen audience, as the cost benefits are obvious. Users will have to maintain their subscriptions in order to have access to their purchased material.
Urge will be Windows Media's default service and from this screenshot of Vista's latest build, will be implemented in Vista. You can also view a Flickr set of Urge here.
While they will make some inroads, I believe it will take a lot to uncrown the king, and without an ipod killer, will be damn near impossible.