Universal Jumps to SpiralFrog's Free Downloads: iPods Not Welcome
September 17, 2007 9:20 AM
Universal and SpiralFrog are dancing to a different tune...and it's not playing on an iPod
Spiralfrog.com launched its free ad-supported download service today, and there's some interesting quirks
launched today, providing music fans with a legal avenue to download some free music. The only catch -- the music is supported by the site's advertising revenues, so your clicks keep those tracks downloading.
Chairman and founder of New York-based SpiralFrog Inc., Joe Mohen
"We believe [SpiralFrog] will be a very powerful alternative to the pirate sites, with SpiralFrog you know what you're getting ... there's no threat of viruses, adware or spyware."
The site, which has been beta tested for months, currently carries about 800,000 tracks and 3,500 music videos available for free download. You must sign up for a free account and provide demographic information in order to gain access to the media. You must also use your account each month in order to keep it active, which is intended to prevent users from simply downloading and not returning to the site.
The site intends to have over 2 million tracks available within the next several months.
Most of the media on the site is from Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, the largest record company in the world, and the only music label to currently have jumped at SpiralFrog's business plan.
that Vivendi had jumped ship from Apple's iTunes service, declining to renew their contract, deciding to seek revenue from alternative sources. Now it appears that one such alternative source is SpiralFrog.
An interesting detail has emerged. Files from SpiralFrog are digitally protected and can be played on mp3 players, but cannot be burned to CDs. There is another minor detail, though -- the files cannot be played on Apple's wildly popular iPod MP3 players -- nor the less popular Microsoft Zune.
SpiralFrog's frequently asked questions section states, "Songs and video files that you download from SpiralFrog are not compatible with Apple’s range of iPods or Microsoft’s Zune."
The move to not allow its content to be played on iPod's appears to be a clear snub by the Universal Music Group, similar to NBC's
of its television content from iTunes to Amazon.com. Apple has not commented on this development.
For many, though, SpiralFrog.com presents an intriguing new business model that may present a legal alternative to file sharing or spending large amounts of money on CDs or paid download services, such as iTunes.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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