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Universal and SpiralFrog are dancing to a different tune...and it's not playing on an iPod  (Source: elsevier.nl)
Spiralfrog.com launched its free ad-supported download service today, and there's some interesting quirks

Spiralfrog.com 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 announced "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.

In July DailyTech reported 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 recent move 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.


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RE: huh?
By DragonMaster0 on 9/23/2007 4:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was just browsing to figure out what sort of drm this Spiralfrog uses, to see if it's worth my while. I don't really see how it can play on "mp3" players but not on an iPod, unless it doesn't really support mp3. I would love to have good (legal) alternatives to iTunes, though, so I'm curious what the facts are on this.


I tested it, it's DRM'd WMA. The thing about 30-days in the article is, if you don't "renew" your account every 30 days, both your account and files license will expire. That's not a big deal though, it's just that every month, you answer a 10 questions survey about how you like the service.

So, it doesn't support every MP3 players out there, just WMA-DRM compatible ones. However, just like with FairPlay, there are ±legal solutions to remove DRM to allow file conversion.

The files are just 128-kbps WMAs though. Not too bad when compared to an MP3 at least.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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