Universal Music opts for ad-supported freebies

Online piracy – it’s not all swashbuckling the odd episode of Heroes and an album or three. It hurts companies like Universal right in the

How about only offering its music for free with ad-supported income? OK. Universal is doing just that.

Having teamed up with music-head social networking site imeem, Universal will offer samples of its music videos and MP3s along side heavy advertising. There may even be ads talking over the samples – a bit like someone shouting at you while you read a book… A book you didn’t pay for.

Cleverly, imeem’s ad-supported model has won it a lot of fans in the music biz, all keen to see massive cash signs on their eyeballs after putting their artists online. Users can swap and trade clips to their heart’s content, music execs get their pockets lined – everybody’s happy.

It’s something imeem preaches to its users, too. ‘Respect the copyrights of others,’ says the imeem website. ‘If you've got content that isn't yours, don't claim that it's your own. You wouldn't want people stealing your photos or content, so don't do it to others. It's just not cool.’

Meanwhile, Universal Music’s love for ad-supported free content is at odds with MySpace’s give-it-all-away approach. As such, Universal has limited full-song streaming on the Murdoch-owned, social love-in.

Best stick to making your own music from now on. You know, just to be really safe.


Universal Music on imeem

Price: £free

On sale: Available Now

Contact: Imeem