Feeds

EMI, Universal ink pacts with free tunes startup

FreeAllMusic (except for the video ads)

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Two major music labels have signed partnerships with a new ad-supported music startup called FreeAllMusic.com, which lets US users download free (and legal) songs in exchange for watching video commercials.

One week after Universal Music Group inked a deal to license its music, FreeAllMusic announced that EMI is on board with the service as well.

The website, which is currently running in private beta, allows registered users to download up to 20 DRM-free tracks per month (five per week, starting every Tuesday) after watching a "brief" video commercial per download.

Music fans then have a permanent copy of the MP3 to use with no DRM or further advertising attached to the file. No special software is required under the service either — although music selections and sponsoring brands are tracked and promoted outside the site via an unnamed digital advertising service. But FreeAllMusic claims that users can opt-out of the external advertising program if they choose.

Before downloading a track, users are given a choice of advertisers to pitch to them. After watching the commercial and downloading the MP3, the website will then display additional banner ads from that sponsor. The company said its taking a "walk before run" approach to building both its customer and advertiser base, but it has brands like Coca-Cola, Warner Bros., Zappos, and LG participating in the initial launch.

Although backing from UMG and EMI gives the service a better chance of surviving the sue-crazy, licensing clusterfuck that is the music world, that doesn't mean success is assured.

Last March, SpiralFrog — a similar ad-funded service that made splashy headlines and inked agreements with UMG and eventually EMI — shut down and surrendered its assets to creditors after unsuccessfully trying to make a profitable business out of free, ad-supported music. But SpiralFrog was often panned for locking down its songs with DRM long after online music stores like iTunes were beating the drum of unrestricted downloads.

FreeAllMusic may win points for choosing a DRM-free strategy for its downloads. But it still has to pay the music labels a royalty for each track and somehow eke out a living on ad revenue. And that's no easy trick. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.