Spiralfrog, one of the first digital music services to attempt ad-supported downloading, has closed down.
The ad-supported site operated much like any other subscription service with the idea of not paying but having to visit the site once a month to renew licenses. The key was to fill out one of their surveys.
As a person who used Spiralfrog I must say that I am not surprised about its demise. I wouldn't say that I am that picky of a music fan but many artists I tried searching for didn't have content on the site.
The site didn't seem all that user-friendly to me. To go to the site to search for new music was tiresome. If you chose the genre rock it would show you a small list of artists that were "top artists." It would show you a few albums to check out as well. If you wanted a more detailed list (to search through more artists) it would break things down into a smaller group (alternative,industrial,etc.).
The thing that bothered me about it is that once I finally got to check out an album either some tracks I couldn't download, or it wasn't available. Many things were unavailable. Some searches showed you links to go buy an album that was unavailable on the site. If I wanted to just go buy it wouldn't I have just gone right to that site and cut out the middle man?
With some artists there were pages made up for them but no content.
Let us not forget.... DRM. When that month was over it cut you off from playing that song you have grown to love as you are walking down the street. You want to hear it again? Well then, get home, log on, and fill out the survey. You might have to erase the track on your player and put it back in in order to hear it. Sounds like fun right?
Most of the music I got from Spiralfrog was just to play on the computer. If the songs grew on me enough I just bought them.
I hope other services now and in the future take Spiralfrog and its fate as a lesson.
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