updated 09:45 am EDT, Mon September 17, 2007
SpiralFrog Music Store
SpiralFrog this morning kicked off the launch of its self-titled online music service, hoping to try a relatively new business model. Rather than require users to purchase music or pay subscription fees, the service is completely free; the costs of media are supported by embedded ads, according to the company. This includes both songs as well as music videos, either of which use the protected version of the Windows Media Audio and Video formats respectively to help SpiralFrog track popularity rather than to deter theft. The store currently holds 800,000 songs and 3,500 music videos from major and independent labels and frequently includes biographies and reviews for artists similar to for-pay stores.
The service currently requires Windows XP or Vista and is billed primarily as an alternative to piracy, as it lets users try music freely without requiring an up-front price or proprietary software to load and play music. Many users will frequently visit web or software portals to sample music but will frequently visit another to pirate or buy it, according to company chairman Joe Mohen. SpiralFrog's zero-cost model is said to resolve the dilemma by reproducing the consistently quick download rates and clean files of traditional stores with the freedom to download tracks on impulse.
"Our answer to this seemingly impossible equation is to allow our audience to download songs and video at no cost — other than their time and attention," Mohen said.