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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

August 30, 2006 at 10:15 AM

Free songs for everyone, but…

Yes, you might be able to download some music for free, but that doesn’t mean that record companies won’t exact a price some other way.

Universal Music said it will be making some of its songs available for free on a Web site backed by New York company SpiralFrog. The idea is to display advertisements to users while the song is downloading. Universal — and other record companies that follow — will get an upfront payment from SpiralFrog and a portion of the advertising revenue.

One major drawback to the service came out Tuesday. Techcrunch reports that users will have to log in to the SpiralFrog service at least once a month to watch additional advertising, or the songs will stop playing. That’s a pretty major tradeoff.

Add to that two more restrictions: the songs can’t be burned to a CD and won’t work with iPods. Wired reports that the service will only use Windows Media files protected by Microsoft’s PlaysForSure digital rights technology. (That technology, by the way, was cracked recently.)

This service doesn’t seem like it will rock the world of the 18- to 35-year-old demographic that loves portability and knows how to download music illegally.

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