A pioneer in ad-driven music sites, SpiralFrog debuted in August 2006, and was heralded as the “next big thing” in Internet music services.
CNET quotes a source close to the company as saying the site couldn’t overcome “a macro-economic perfect storm.”
That may be true, but users didn’t exactly hop with joy over SpiralFrog’s watch ads-get music business plan. Furthermore, advertising was only one strike against the Frog. The site’s music was wrapped in digital rights management technology while other services – specifically Amazon MP3 and iTunes – have eschewed DRM.
There were also catalog problems. SpiralFrog cut a deal with Universal Music Group, but two years went by before company landed it’s second label – EMI. But that was only half of the major label scene, and the Frog never completed deals with Sony or Warner.
Reports of mounting debt – more than $9 million as of one year ago – indicated the service had sunk so low into a sea of red ink that nothing short of a miracle could have boosted its financial buoyancy.
But the demise of SpiralFrog doesn’t mean ad-supported music doesn’t work. It’s still a matter of delivering to customers what they expect from any music site, such as gigantic music inventories coupled with a no-DRM policy and presented in a hassle-free turnkey environment. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Click here for CNET’s report.