Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spiral Frog: Free Music for a Price

Spiral Frog is a new music service that aims to give Internet users access to downloadable music for free. With nearly 800,000 songs available, the service would seem too good to be true. So, what's the catch?

As with anything poised to be free on the Internet these days, the service is subsidized massively by advertising. What does this mean? It means that for each song you download you must spend at least 90 seconds with your eye on the download manager, manually responding to a prompt at the end of that duration in order to complete the download and move on to another song. The idea here is that if you have to manually download each song you will spend the time waiting and maintaining your queue being exposed to ads.

At 90 seconds a song, a twelve track album translates into 18 minutes of having to hover around the Spiral Frog site waiting for the record to complete. Considering that buying an album on iTunes takes a third of that and is automatically managed (meaning you can go leave your computer to do something else while it completes), 18 minutes is inordinately long and cumbersome. But I guess your time is the price for not having to pay anything.

The time involved to download an album isn't the only gripe to be had with this service. The music is locked by
DRM, meaning the songs aren't free in the traditional sense. You can only play the songs on your computer or compatible portable devices. In essence, you are donating your time to borrow the streaming rights to the songs you download. I'd much rather turn on the radio.

Beggars can't be choosers, and for a free service Spiral Frog is an okay start. Maybe if the download wait times are lowered to a more palatable 45 seconds or so, this start up will increase its appeal among the tech savvy audiophiles out there. But for now, in light of its current status quo, Spiral Frog pretty much falls flat.


Anonymous said...

it doesn't work. I downloaded some songs and they didn't play. Plus waiting 90 seconds is like a lifetime.
The ads suck.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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