August 30, 2006


All music downloads from largest record seller will be free (Charles Duhigg and Dawn C. Chmielewski, 8/30/06, Los Angeles Times)

Music fans for years have been telling record labels what they want to pay for downloaded songs: nothing.

The labels now are starting to agree that free might work for them, too.

Universal Music Group's announcement Tuesday that it is licensing its digital catalog to a Web site offering free, legal downloads marks a significant shift in an industry long criticized for fighting, rather than harnessing, the Internet's potential.

The Web site, backed by New York company SpiralFrog, hopes to make money selling advertisements that play while songs download.

Google makes novels free to print (BBC, 8/30/06)
Search engine Google plans to offer consumers the chance to download and print classic novels free of charge.

The firm's book search tool will let people print classics such as Dante's Inferno or Aesop's Fables, as well as other books no longer under copyright.

Until now, the service has only let people read such books on-screen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 30, 2006 7:41 AM

So Google has caught up with Project Gutenburg et. al. Big deal.

Posted by: Ed Bush at August 30, 2006 8:21 AM

Yeah, why exactly are they replicating what they do?

In any case used classics are cheaply available and having them bound and properly set is worth the few pounds compared to printing them out on A4.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at August 30, 2006 9:24 AM

I've been using Gutenburg for years to fill up my pocket pc with classic/public domain books.

Posted by: ted welter at August 30, 2006 10:44 AM

ted, me too.

I don't mind reading books on my small laptop/notebook using Word's reading layout, but it's not perfect. For years, I've been waiting for someone to market a good electronic reader with a screen that more closely mimics words printed on paper and has a soft body more closely resembling a bound book.

Added advantage of electronic readers would be a built-in reference library including the Random House Unabridged Dictionary of which I've grown very fond. Add font changes to accommodate the eyesight of the reader and a comfortable chair and my idea of heaven is complete.

Posted by: erp at August 30, 2006 11:34 AM

Why SpiralFrog is no big deal: 1) You have to view a 90-second ad for each song downloaded. 2) The songs still have Windows DRM, so they won't play on iPods, the most popular MP3 player. 3) You have to revisit the site at least once a month to view new ads, or the songs you've already downloaded stop playing. Such a deal!

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 30, 2006 10:33 PM