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Universal Backs Dodgy Ad Supported Free Music Service
Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on August 29, 2006. @piers_fawkes

Remember all those ‘free’ services you used to get back in 99/00 – all you needed to do was watch an ad on the web and you’d get free browsing, telephone service, stuff. The dream was that advertising was going to pay for all the services people weren’t that interested in paying for. But were people that interested in looking at badly made ads? Not really…

Now here comes a similar jolly called SpiralFrog backed by Universal. If the user watches an ad, they get a free music track (yeah, sounds like a Pepsi promotion, we know). The FT reports:

Universal Music, the world’s largest music company, is backing a start-up that will allow consumers to download songs for free. It will rely on advertising for its revenues, offering a different business model from that of Apple Computer’s popular iTunes music store.

From what we can fathom, not only does this model run counter with the current ‘download and go’ consumption of music on the web; it also relies on an old model of advertising where advertisers stick some message in your face 1950s style. But advertising is moving away from classic advertising to branded experience, to branded entertainment and, maybe one day, branded utility.

Maybe we’re just a bit grumpy today and it’s got a chance. What do you think?

FT.com / Companies / Media & internet – Universal backs free music rival to iTunes

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