After many years of going head-to-head with peer-to-peer networks from Napster to BitTorrent, the music industry has finally decided to give in. Vivendi’s Universal Music Group–the world’s largest music group–has joined forces with SpiralFrog, a new advertising-supported music download service, to make its catalog available for free legal downloading in the United States and Canada.
The company’s business model is based on sharing income from advertising with content partners like Universal, while deterring music aficianados from pirating music. Its intended audience, the 13 – 34 demographic, has traditionally been anti-advertising but is used to the formula from watching videos on sites like MTV.com and and Yahoo! Music.
SpiralFrog is pitting itself directly in competition with the Apple iTunes Music store, as well as upcoming services from both Microsoft and MTV. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.