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Old 08-30-2006, 08:18 PM   #1
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Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

Take that, iTunes.

Joining the fight against Apple's dominance over the portable music market, Universal Music Group announced Tuesday that it will be making its entire catalog available for free downloading via the ad-supported Website SpiralFrog.com.

Of course, if it sounds too good to be perfect, it probably is. You'll be able to download music from artists ranging from U2 and the Killers to Eminem and Elton John and play the tunes on Microsoft Windows Media Player-compatible devices, but you can't burn the tracks onto CDs. (Which, in turn, prevents you from uploading said CDs into iTunes and playing them back on an iPod.)

Once users have registered at SpiralFrog, however, they can download an unlimited number of songs and music videos from the world's largest record company and all they have to do is watch a 90-second commercial while waiting for Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" to download and then re-register once a month to be able to access their libraries. Or you have to sit through a 120-second ad as you twiddle your thumbs waiting for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" video to load onto your hard drive.

"The currency we're using is time," SpiralFrog chairman Joe Mohen told the Los Angeles Times. "Young people are already downloading free songs illegally on peer-to-peer networks. We believe that advertisers will pay to show those consumers ads, and that those payments will rival what music companies get from iTunes or other online retailers."

New York-based SpiralFrog, which will split ad revenue with Universal, said that it hopes to get the new venture off the ground in the U.S. and Canada by the end of this year. Deals with other major music labels are also reportedly in the works. Both EMI and Warner Music Group told Reuters they were in talks with SpiralFrog, which, according to a source close to the deal, paid Universal right up front to gain access to the companies' songbook.

"The challenge is going to be whether there's enough advertising revenue to drive sales volume," Gartner Research analyst Mike McGuire told Reuters. "And as we know in online music, if you don't have all four of the majors [Sony BMG being the one not yet mentioned] plus a significant number of independents then you don't have a thriving store."

Also looking to take a bite out of Apple and its successful 99-cents-apiece formula, Napster, the illegal file-sharing site-turned subscription-based service, started in May letting users play a track up to five times for free in the hope that happy listeners will be more inclined to pony up the monthly fee for unlimited downloading. The former free-for-all site Kazaa is also expected to get into the legitimate downloading game soon, as well.

The Universal-SpiralFrog deal, however, marks one of the few times that so much music (millions of songs from thousands of artists) will be available for free downloading in one place, along with the option to play the tunes on a portable player.

"Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling," SpiralFrog CEO Robin Kent said in a statement. "SpiralFrog will offer those consumers a better experience and environment than they can get from any pirate site."
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #2
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Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

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Originally posted by one4u2
and play the tunes on Microsoft Windows Media Player-compatible devices, but you can't burn the tracks onto CDs. (Which, in turn, prevents you from uploading said CDs into iTunes and playing them back on an iPod.)
There are so many ways around that.
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:57 PM   #3
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Re: Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

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There are so many ways around that.
So, so many
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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people will lsiten on spiral frog and download illgeally from other programs , STUPID.
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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Does it matter...the people that get stuff legally will continue to do so those that dont will also continue to do so. It sounds like a good service though, hopefully it lasts.

See what the quality is like though
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:58 PM   #6
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Re: Re: Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

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So, so many
All I'll do is open up Cool Edit Pro, set my sound recorder to "Stereo Mixer," and play back the song! It's very simple.

This could quite possibly be the stupidest idea I've ever heard of. Who in their right mind is going to sit through a two minute advertisement to listen to a song that you can't quickly transfer to your MP3 player of choice? Sure, it's free, but it's a hassle. I'd rather pay for music than go through all the trouble that this spiralfrog.com is proposing. They don't mention anything about the quality either. What bitrate will the music play at?
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:13 PM   #7
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

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All I'll do is open up Cool Edit Pro, set my sound recorder to "Stereo Mixer," and play back the song! It's very simple.

This could quite possibly be the stupidest idea I've ever heard of. Who in their right mind is going to sit through a two minute advertisement to listen to a song that you can't quickly transfer to your MP3 player of choice? Sure, it's free, but it's a hassle. I'd rather pay for music than go through all the trouble that this spiralfrog.com is proposing. They don't mention anything about the quality either. What bitrate will the music play at?
Amen.
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:00 PM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

Quote:
Originally posted by GibsonGirl


All I'll do is open up Cool Edit Pro, set my sound recorder to "Stereo Mixer," and play back the song! It's very simple.

This could quite possibly be the stupidest idea I've ever heard of. Who in their right mind is going to sit through a two minute advertisement to listen to a song that you can't quickly transfer to your MP3 player of choice? Sure, it's free, but it's a hassle. I'd rather pay for music than go through all the trouble that this spiralfrog.com is proposing. They don't mention anything about the quality either. What bitrate will the music play at?
Not if you select the ad to go while you're in the bathroom or away from the computer. My only concern is the quality of music it would be giving, my guess would be some low-bitrate WMA protected format.
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Old 08-31-2006, 06:17 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Universal Lets Killers, U2 Go Free

Quote:
Originally posted by GibsonGirl
Who in their right mind is going to sit through a two minute advertisement to listen to a song that you can't quickly transfer to your MP3 player of choice? Sure, it's free, but it's a hassle. I'd rather pay for music than go through all the trouble that this spiralfrog.com is proposing.
I'd rather just download it from any free source. If they're giving it away for free now, I'd feel even more justified in "illegal" downloading because I'd be getting the music for free either way!
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Old 09-03-2006, 01:52 AM   #10
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What I find most interesting is the degree to which advertisers are willing to freakin' *pay* for this ad-placement. So much hot new internet bizness activity seems to revolve around getting ads placed. Do these ads pay off?! If they don't then this is one amazing scamfest....
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Old 09-03-2006, 01:57 AM   #11
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Hooray for the scamfest, so long as I get all the free music I can handle!
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