“Our target audience is the driving force behind the changes in how music is created, discovered and consumed. They are the future of music, but their needs are not being fully met with current business models."
——SpiralFrog CEO Robin Kent

SPIRALFROGGIE WENT A-COURTIN’

UMG Pushes the Digital Envelope Via Agreement With New Download Service
Universal Music Group has made its catalog available to a new species of online animal that calls itself SpiralFrog...and don't you dare call it Frogster.

What’s different about the New York-based online music service is that downloads will be free and legal. SpiralFrog will derive its revenue from advertising and share it with its content partners—meaning that UMG has killed two birds with one stone, opening yet another new revenue stream while endorsing the next logical stage of the digital revolution.

Said SpiralFrog CEO Robin Kent in a statement released Tuesday morning by UMG: “Offering legally-authorized audio and video downloads in an advertising-supported environment works, as our business model is based on sharing our income streams from that advertising with our content partners like Universal.

SpiralFrog’s target audience, Kent explained, is people between 13 and 34. “This is the core audience we will attract by building a music-centric experience and destination that is second to none, legally delivering what the majority of kids want—content they pay for only with their time. It’s content that advertisers are willing to pay for on their behalf.

“Our target audience is the driving force behind the changes in how music is created, discovered and consumed,” he added. “They are the future of music, but their needs are not being fully met with current business models. We believe SpiralFrog’s differentiated offering will be highly appealing to them as well as to content providers.”

According to Kent, the site’s music files will contain no viruses or spyware, with quick downloading. Obviously, DRM technology will be built-in to all content. “We want to provide the best environment for everyone—our partners and the recording artists, as well as consumers,” he explained. “Piracy continues to be one of the biggest issues facing the music industry where illegal file sharing and unauthorized CD burning are the prime means of music piracy. Digital rights protection will help us combat piracy and provide peace of mind for the record labels and the artists.”

The company’s research indicates that consumers are more than willing to ‘pay’ for their content by watching non-intrusive, contextually-relevant, targeted advertising in an online entertainment environment where advertising is already part of the overall experience.

“Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling,” said Kent, who was previously the head of media communications agency Universal McCann Worldwide. “SpiralFrog will offer those consumers a better experience and environment than they can get from any pirate site.”

SpiralFrog will launch in beta later this year.

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