SpiralFrog Trades DRM For Semi-Annoying Ads

SpiralFrog, a free online music download service, launches today. The service hopes to make a go of it with the holy grail of RIAA haters -- ad-supported free music downloads. Founder Joe Mohen predicts they'll need 10 million users per month to make enough money to pay the licensing fees on the music. Is it really that hard to give away free stuff?

"Registration is fairly quick, requiring a name, age, gender and ZIP code. Mac users can't use the service at all; Firefox users will probably need to install a Windows Media Player plug-in that requires all other browser windows to be closed (ugh). The site also requires Flash 9 and SpiralFrog's download manager, which allows a Download Queue window to follow you around the site as you choose stuff to grab.

SpiralFrog's catalog only contains about 770,000 songs, while iTunes boasts more than 6 million. SpiralFrog only has deals with one major label (Universal) and a smattering of smaller indie and regional labels (plus digital music distributors Ioda and The Orchard). I managed to find full albums from Sonic Youth, Pulp, Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M., The Velvet Underground and some other heavy hitters, but was frustrated to find lots of artists listed whose songs weren't actually available."

There's a requirement to fill out a monthly survey to get your hands on the music, too, but the price is right: nothing. SpiralFrog

Tags:  DRM, EMI, Ads, DS, ROG, Yi, Pi, trade