Ad-Supported Music Site Inks Pact For EMI Tunes - InformationWeek

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Ad-Supported Music Site Inks Pact For EMI Tunes

The deal is SpiralFrog's second with a major label, following last week's announcement that it would offer digital songs for free from Universal Music Group's catalog.

SpiralFrog, an ad-supported music service scheduled to launch in December, said Wednesday it has licensed the lyrics from EMI Music Publishing's catalog.

The deal is the startup's second with a major label. SpiralFrog last week said it would offer digital songs for free from the catalog of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, which would share in the ad revenue.

The EMI deal, however, does not give SpiralFrog the right to offer music downloads. Instead, the music service would be able to let visitors search for and view the lyrics of EMI's anglo-American repertoire.

"We are delighted to obtain global rights to song lyrics as this is further value that we can add for our users, while driving even more advertising revenue for the music composers," Robin Kent, chief executive of SpiralFrog, said in a statement.

While that may be so, the bigger prize is undoubtedly the ability to offer a wide variety of music, particularly if an ad-supported model is to compete with the millions of songs available on other online stores, such as Apple Computer's iTunes, and Urge, a partnership between MTV and Microsoft.

Some analysts have been skeptical over whether music lovers would be willing to put up with advertising, and whether the model would generate enough revenue to please record companies.

Besides music downloads, New York-based SpiralFrog plans to also offer music videos, blogs and information about bands and tours.

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