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Free Music - Universal Supports Free Music Deal

The world’s biggest music group, Vivendi Universal, has signed a deal with a legal free music download site to make its music catalogue available. Spiralfrog, launched last December, will offer Universal’s free music online in the USA and Canada.

The free music website, based in New York, hopes to challenge the market leader Apple’s iTunes which charges 99 cents per song in the USA.

The Chief Executive of Spiralfrog, Robin Kent, said: "Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling,"

A music industry legal specialist, Josh Lawler, based in the USA, said news of the new free music deal was “inevitable”. He told BBC News: “It's a very shrewd move by Universal. The music industry is going to a point where all delivery will probably be some form of downloading or streaming.”

Free Music Downloads

The International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) released figures that suggest 40 illegal downloads are done for each legal one.

The music downloads business is a rapidly growing marketplace with 60,000,000 MP3 players sold last year and 420,000,000 single tracks downloaded during the same time period, an increase of 20 times on 2 years previously.

There are many companies jumping on the free music bandwagon. Retailers such as Virgin and HMV are already offering music downloads while an online shop has been opened by MTV.

Microsoft is nearing completion of its online music store to go with its Zune mp3 player which it believes to be an ‘iPod killer’.

Free Music UK

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© August 2006

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