Vivendi tries to turn SpiralFrog into a music prince

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

New York (NY) - Vivendi's Universal Music Group (UMG) is trying to turn startup SpiralFrog into a music prince by offering its entire backlog of songs for free download. The songs will be downloadable after users agree to watching some advertisements. Both UMG and SpiralFrog hope the partnership will break Apple iTunes' grip on the downloadable music market.

New York-based SpiralFrog is aiming at 13 to 34-year old users who are willing to give up some time in exchange for some free music. During the downloads, ads will play, but it isn't clear what kind or how the ads will be inserted into the web page. The financial details of the deal between SpiralFrog and UMG have not been made public.

Nothing strikes more fear into a music executive's heart than song piracy, so it should come as no surprise that SpiralFrogprotects each song with digital rights management add-ons. The company hasn't said if users can put the songs onto their portable music players, something which is in integral part of many other music download services.

SpiralFrog goes up against a slew of downloadable music services, including the Apple iTunes juggernaut. Many of the other services offer downloads for around $1 per song, but retail giant Wal-Mart offers their songs for just 88 cents each. Competing services also have premium paid content, like Rhapsody and Napster who both offer an unlimited download service for $15 a month

There is no word on any type of premium service or if SpiralFrog will offer songs to the mobile phone or portable MP3 market. SpiralFrog is set to officially launch in December, but it promises a beta trial witin a few weeks.