Universal Music to back free digital music service

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, has partnered with SpiralFrog, a new online music start-up that plans to allow customers to download songs for free. The advertising-supported, web-based service will initially offer Universal’s complete roster and will include digital rights management technology on the tracks. The SpiralFrog service, which is expected to launch in the U.S. and Canada in December, is apparently targeting the pirated music circles rather than the iTunes Music Store. In the company’s press release announcing the service, Robin Kent, SpiralFrog’s CEO said: “Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling. SpiralFrog will offer those consumers a better experience and environment than they can get from any pirate site.”

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