Monday, September 17, 2007

New Site to Offer Free Music Downloads

A new digital music download Website has emerged that promises to offer tracks from Universal Music artists for free. Of course, there’s a small catch…

To download a tune from, you’ll first have to wait a tiresome 90 seconds for the song to download. That’s no big deal; I can live with that. I lived with waiting longer than that back in the original Napster days when I was on dial-up! (It took half an hour to download one song!)

Second, you’ll have to fill out a survey each month about your buying habits. OK, a bit intrusive and demanding, but I’m willing to do this if it means no-hassle downloads on a daily basis.

The clincher for me, however, is that downloaded songs can’t be burned to a CD (strike one) nor transferred to an iPod (strike two). Strike three is obvious: the site only offers tunes from one label.

I do commend the company for attempting to find a winning solution to an ever-growing battle in the world of music. However, in my opinion, any service that restricts what I can do with something is o-u-t out. I want the exact same functionality I’d get with a store-bought, Compact Disc. Anything less is, well, less. To spiralfrog’s credit, you can transfer downloaded tracks to any Windows-compatible mobile device, so I’ll take back half a strike.

On a brighter note, I do believe that is on to something. How did the company manage to snag a deal with Universal to offer its tunes for free? Through online advertising: to which a portion of the revenue is undoubtedly paid to the label. This sounds like the most logical option I’ve heard to date. As it is right now, I quite often endure 10-15 second commercials so I can watch an online video, or engage in a quick game of Bejeweled 2. So I’d be more than happy to watch a quick commercial, or eyeball some ads, in order to download a desired track. This is provided I’m able to do with it as I like once it’s “mine”. might not be the breakthrough we’ve been looking for, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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