Legal music downloads becoming free

Topic / Technology

Spiralfrog iconI’ve been hearing a lot about and its pending release in December. The company plans to offer legal audio and music video downloads in exchange for watching 45-90 second video ads per song or video. Surprisingly, SpiralFrog’s music database will not just be a lot of obscure artists no one’s ever heard of — they have agreements with EMI and Universal Music Group to make their entire music catelogs available as free downloads! Personally, watching up to 15 minutes of advertizing every month to download and keep just 10 songs that otherwise expires every 30 days due to Microsoft’s copyright protection (DRM encryption) probably isn’t worth my time. I think I’ll stick with my subscription to Rhapsody just because it’s so easy and convenient to use.

Derek WebbDerek Webb, on the other hand, is making his new album, “Mockingbird,” available for download from his site completely free — no strings attached. As a former member of one of my all-time favorite bands, Caedmon’s Call, Derek seeks to use his music to spark discussions among people by using the power of the Internet. He says this:

one of the things that excites me most about the future of our business is how easy it is becoming to deliver music to people who want to hear it. i heard a story once about keith green caring so much that people were able to hear and engage with his music that he gave it away for free, which was a very difficult and expensive thing to do at that time. it’s actually never been as simple as it is today to connect music with music fans. and i want people to have a chance to listen to mockingbird and engage in the conversation.

so this is why, on september 1st, we’re launching, a place where anyone can go online and not just hear but actually download, keep, and share ‘mockingbird’ completely for free. In addition, will give you an opportunity to invite your friends to download ‘mockingbird’ in order to get them in on the conversation as well.

I’m curious to follow Derek’s plan for communicating his message through music made freely available online. One thing is sure: he must absolutely believe in what he’s doing to go through all the time and expense of recording an album and then to give it away for free. I’m impressed that he would forfeit all monetary profit on something like this for the sake of promoting conversations.

Posted on September 8, 2006

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