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Universal signs deal to offer free music downloads

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Universal has signed a deal with Spiralfrog to offer free music downloads to anyone in the US and Canada. The service will launch in December and will be ad-supported. They aim to offer a simple, easy-to-use, free alternative to iTunes. I don’t know if this is the one or not, but I have always believed that there is plenty of money to be made on the Internet with “free content” and I am in favor of any alternatives to a proprietary system like iTunes.

The Internet has been built by companies and individuals providing useful solutions to problems that are free to the end user. The big thing here will be to make the advertising relevant and fairly unobtrusive. I don’t expect the big names in music to get involved with a project like this until the market forces them to, but for an up and coming performer the could be the ultimate solution. The real losers here could be the recording companies who refuse to give up their old business model.

I am not in favor of the DRM here, but let them adress one hurdle at a time.

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