Universal to Offer Catalog for Free Downloading

Universal Music Group (UMG) has just announced a partnership with SpiralFrog, a New York-based startup, that’s developed a music downloading service where consumers “pay” for the music by watching “non-intrusive, contextually-relevant, targeted advertising.” From the SpiralFrog press release it sounds like they’ll offer free music video downloads as well. Amazingly, they’ll still be crapping everything up with DRM. The press release says:

“Piracy continues to be one of the biggest issues facing the music industry… Digital rights protection will help us combat piracy and provide peace of mind for the record labels and the artists.”

Um…you’re going to be giving the music away. With the state of DRM tech today, even giving it away in this manner is not likely to deal a killing blow to piracy.

Here’s the SpiralFrog PR.

Update: TechCrunch has something of a scoop. They talked to someone who does PR for SpiralFrog. He claimed that downloads will only be listenable on one PC and two mobile devices (no iPods!), and that, you’ll have to log onto SpiralFrog at least once a month to view ads or all your music will go bye-bye. Charming. Untenable. A digital dodo in the making.

Thanks, Alberto!