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FreeAllMusic Strikes Deal With EMI For Ad-Supported Downloads

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We recently wrote about ad-sponsored digital music download service FreeAllMusic.com’s deal with Universal Music to let anyone download music from the record label’s artists, which include Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Jay Sean. Today, the startup is announcing its another deal with a major record label: EMI Music.

Via FreeAllMusic’s platform, thousands of tracks will be offered at a rate of 20 free downloads per month, five per week, starting every Tuesday. The recently launched FreeAllMusic.com, which is in private beta, lets users access downloadable, high-quality, iPod-compatible MP3s of advertiser-paid, free, legal, and unrestricted song. The catch: users watch a video commercial per download on the site and users’ music selections and sponsoring brands are then promoted externally through an opt-in, digital advertising network.

To download a free track, users can select a participating brand and then need to watch a video advertisement from that brand. Brands who are participating in the initial launch are Coca-Cola, Warner Bros, Zappos, Lionsgate, LG, and others.

Similar to Universal Music, EMI Music has been a little lawsuit-happy when it comes to the dissemination of its content, which makes these deals surprising. But with the ad-supported downloads, FreeAllMusic may have found a way around music labels’ onerous fees. And the record labels get paid, which makes them happy with the deal. Music startup Groovershark also managed to slip past EMI’s lawyers to strike a deal last fall. According to a New York Times article from December, FreeAllMusic had already signed on another record label but declined to name the new label.

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