Well, I guess someone at the music company finally has seen YouTube, and figured out it's easier to sell banner ads and give music away for free than it is to hunt down every college student who went to Kazaa and grabbed two Pink Floyd album cuts...
Universal's support reflects music companies' willingness to experiment as they try to capture some profit from the boom in digital distribution, which is still dominated by illegal file-sharing networks. In spite of iTunes' popularity, a report released last month by the International Federation of Phonographic Industries revealed that there are still roughly 40 illegal downloads for every legal one as consumers continue to flock to peer-to-peer networks."
Now, Universal Music is a big company, so this approach might have legs. How will it work?
"Customers will be able to download an unlimited number of Universal songs to their computer and one other device. They will not be able to transfer those songs onto a compact disc, and they must visit the site at least once a month to maintain access to their music."
I figure it will take about five minutes to get around the no transfer protocol. Sooner or later the recording industry is going to figure out you can make as much money charging everybody a penny as charging a few legal people ten bucks.