Los Angeles (CA) - A new music downloading service makes its debut today, offering free songs to people who are willing to cope with advertising and heavy DRM restrictions.
Spiral Frog, which has been in beta for months, arranged a deal with record companies that's not typical for the industry - it will give a cut of its advertising dollars to the labels who agree to provide music tracks to users to download for free.
"We believe it will be a very powerful alternative to the pirate sites," said Spiral Frog founder Joe Mohen. Hardcore music pirates are unlikely to be impressed with the selection at Spiral Frog, though. Its only major label is Universal Music. The rest of the initial 800,000 tracks offered on the site are from small labels and independent artists.
The service is riddled with DRM copy protection. Users cannot burn the tracks to a CD, nor are they compatible with Apple's iPod. The files can be played on a PC, and according to Spiral Frog the tracks are compatible with other various digital music players. However, each song can only be transfered to two players.
Users are also required to log into their Spiral Frog account at least once a month to keep the licenses to their downloaded songs active.
The site says it plans to have two million tracks available by mid-2008.