SpiralFrog expands music catalog with EMI deal

SpiralFrog has reached an agreement with EMI Group PLC, one of the largest music publishers in the world, for songs and lyrics for its music download service.
  • Jeremy Kirk (IDG News Service)
  • 10 September, 2006 11:14

SpiralFrog has reached an agreement with EMI Music Publishing, one of the largest music publishers in the world, to use its songs and lyrics for a music download service scheduled to roll out in a beta version by November.

SpiralFrog, which announced its first deal with Universal Music Group last week, plans to offer free song downloads, with the service funded through advertising.

"This is just the start of signing major labels and music publishers to offer their catalogs to the users of SpiralFrog," said Neville Hobson, SpiralFrog spokesman.

SpiralFrog is one of several technology companies and music publishers forging alliances in an effort to suppress illegal music downloading, blamed by record labels for falling sales.

SpiralFrog said their service will be a high-quality alternative to file-sharing sites that are "characterized by poor-quality music, missing song details and spyware."

Music on SpiralFrog will be in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio (WMA) format and encoded with rules on how the track can be used, known as Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The record labels will retain the power to set restrictions on how a song can be used, Hobson said. It's planned that songs will be playable on a user's computer and transferable to two portable devices.

But the songs can't be burned to a CD, and they can't be shared with other people, he said. The songs will remain playable only as long as a person regularly logs into their SpiralFrog account.

The choice of format means the content won't be playable on Apple Computer's iPod media player, which dominates the industry.

Songs downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store will play on PCs or Macintoshes, but can only be transferred to the company's iPod media players. Users can buy individual songs or entire albums.

But Apple's competitors are experimenting with other business models such as subscription services, which allow access to thousands of songs at a time as long as the subscription fee is paid, and ad-funded free services, to lure users away.

SpiralFrog's deal with EMI will also allow users to search and display the lyrics from EMI's catalog, the companies said.

EMI holds more than one million copyrights, it said, and publishes artists including James Blunt, Eminem, Jay-Z and the Arctic Monkeys.