MTV's Online Music Service Gets Ready To Roll

Is Sumner Redstone late to the digital music party, or is it just getting started? Redstone's Viacom will find out sometime next year, when his MTV unit will roll out its long-anticipated online music service. The company officially announced Tuesday the roll out of its Urge service in 2006, but said little else about the offering, which has been in the works for years.

In the meantime, plenty of competitors have opened shop on the Internet, to mixed results. To date, digital music sales seem to work best for companies that don't need to make money selling digital music. Apple Computer has used its store primarily as a way to push its iPods; Yahoo! has used its music-subscription service to help serve ads; and News Corp.'s MySpace simply uses lets users listen to music free of charge. Napster, the only pure-play music retailer, has yet to make a penny.

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