Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

will collaborate with

Viacom's

(VIA) - Get Report

MTV networks to create a digital music service called Urge.

The move could help the companies challenge

Apple Computer's

(AAPL) - Get Report

dominance in digital music.

The service, which will debut next year, will offer more than 2 million songs from major and independent record labels, the companies said in a statement. Urge will also be integrated into an upcoming version of Microsoft's Widows Media Player.

Urge has the backing of major record industry executives such as BMG U.S. Chairman Clive Davis and Lyor Cohen, the head of U.S. recorded music for

Warner Music Group

(WMG) - Get Report

. Other fans included pop singer Alicia Keyes, Chris Martin of the rock band Coldplay, and country artist Gretchen Wilson.

In September, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs criticized "greedy" music executives for demanding that the company raise prices for songs at its iTunes store. The music industry's reaction to Urge was more positive.

"With Urge, MTV Networks is again at the forefront of revolutionizing where and how our combined audiences across the globe can connect with the music and artists that they love," says Warner Music's Cohen.

Information about Urge's pricing was not disclosed in the press release, and MTV declined to comment beyond the statement. Additional details about Urge will be disclosed in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the companies said.

Besides MTV, the MTV Networks also includes the VH1 and CMT music channels along with Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Viacom shares jumped 19 cents to $34.90. Microsoft, the largest software company, fell 16 cents to $26.29. Apple Computer fell 22 cents to $74.68.

Urge comes a day after Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft formed an alliance with

MCI

(MCIP)

to offer computer-to-computer calling over MSN's instant messaging service.

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