SpiralFrog has just announced the site is up to over 1 million uniques each month and expected to end this month with over 1.2 million uniques. SpiralFrog, for those of you who don’t remember, is the free (as in ad supported, not P2P) legal music service that unlocks over 1 million songs to their users as long as they log back in to their site at least once every month (an easy task if you update your library frequently). The songs are downloads and played as WMA files under DRM controls.
While you’d think the main advantage of a download is portability, most people won’t be able to take songs off their computer because they use iPods that can’t play the WMA files. See more details in our earlier coverage.
The songs come from some pretty unique deals with the big labels UMG, EMI, and BMI. In exchange, labels get a share of the ad revenue and affiliate song sales on the site and the comfort of control through the service’s DRM.
However, SpiralFrog was over a year in the making and only officially launched last September. A lot has changed since then. Music prices have dropped, DRM is dead (for paid tracks at least), and new legal/questionably legal sites have popped up to serve up free tunes. Competition includes HypeMachine, RadioBlogClub, Deezer, InTune.fm, Mog, Last.fm, Imeem, and a bunch of other sites. One key difference is that users on these sites stream music instead of downloading it, but that doesn’t seem to be slowing down their growth rates. Imeem, which follows an ad splitting model similar to SpiralFrog, did over 3 million monthly uniques around the time SpiralFrog launched last year. Lets not forget that Yahoo may be treading in this territory as well.