Spiralfrog’s final demise

Some news stories provide a perfect opportunity for a bit of imagination in writing a snappy headline, often with a pun or metaphor.

News a few days ago that ad-supported music sharing site Spiralfrog has bitten the dust was one such opportunity as this view of news blog headlines in Techmeme illustrates.

The word most used to link with Spiralfrog is “croaks.” No one could do better than that!

Lots of opinion about Spiralfrog, its business model and what might have been since it first emerged on the scene in August 2006 with an exclusive in the Financial Times and in TechCrunch. (I know a bit about that as I was the lead external PR for Spiralfrog as part of what I was doing with crayon before the company formally launched; I left crayon in June 2007.)

spiralfrog
It’s a shame to see Spiralfrog’s final demise. They had a terrific concept in 2006, one that was inevitably disruptive: offering a legitimate alternative to illegal music download sites, not competing with iTunes as far too many reporters dreamed was the case and which made plenty of headlines at the time.

The company made some ground-breaking deals with some of the major record labels and independents that arguably set some of the scene for what’s subsequently followed in opening up music online in much wider scope and scale, for artists, labels and consumers.

But perhaps a market for access to DRM-restrictive “free” music as an ad-supported venture like Spiralfrog’s just isn’t there. At least, not a market where you can actually make money.

If you’re a Spiralfrog user, what happens now to music tracks you’ve already downloaded, given that the Spiralfrog terms of service require you to log in to the website once every 60 days so that your music keeps being playable?

Well, you’ve got 60 more days and then your music won’t play any more, according to CNET News.

Looks like it’s time to bite the bullet and open that account at the iTunes Store (mainly if you have an iPod although that’s a device that Spiralfrog didn’t support) or Amazon (for really DRM-free music on any device).

Heaven forbid that anyone would consider illegal downloads.

[Update March 23] Latest development via CNET News: SpiralFrog owes $34 million. Investors get nothing?