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New Ad Supported Music Downoad Site FreeAllMusic.com Gets Seed Funding

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PLUS A Q & A With CEO Richard Nailling

Free All Media has secured seed funding to launch its FreeAllMusic.com ad supported free digital music service in late 2009. The initial round includes founding investor, Scott Barber, CEO of Reform Records, and Free All Media’s CEO Richard Nailling.  FreeAllMusic.com will offer ad supported songs without DRM for free download.

The FreeAllMusic pitch is that all previous ad-supported download services have been too cumbersome, too restrictive, or too limited in content. No one to this point has offered DRM-free music downloads with an easy, no- gimmicks process.

The fact that neither of the top execs come from the music industry could offer fresh perspective.  CEO Nailling worked in Hollywood in TV and interactive and #2 Brian McCourt helped fund the original "Blair Witch Project" and is a long-time brand sales veteran and consultant.

In an exclusive interview, CEO Richard Nailling explained how FreeAllMusic.com differs from other free music sites:

Q: Are the downloads ad supported?

NAILLING: Yes, each individual download is sponsored (purchased for the user) by a brand.  The chosen sponsor owns 100% of the download sequence on our site.

Q: How are the ads positioned or added?

NAILLING:   One (required) video Ad (15-30 sec.) will be shown on our site to the user before the song is downloaded.  No more ad viewing is required or contained in the song file itself.  While the song is downloading the user will also be exposed (exclusively) to other clickable display ad units from that brand sponsor.  User-informed promotional ads outside FAM are also part of the display ad package for advertisers, but our FAM user does not see those ads.

Q: Have any major labels signed on?

NAILLING: We have one major label signed and intend to have all four majors signed by our launch date.

Q:
How have publishers reacted? 

NAILLING: We are not a streaming site.  Downloads only.  Publishing is covered in our label deals.

Q: Do you see Spotify and other streaming services as competition? 

NAILLING: We are building a free site that works for both advertisers and consumers.  In the major streaming models advertising is looked upon as the ‘necessary solution’ for funding the free model while they try to convince users to pay.  In addition, streaming audio sites are not a truly effective medium for digital advertisers.  People don’t watch banner ads while they stream music. 

Downloaders are much more willing to watch and be engaged with advertising in return for the content. 

We’re a site that people will visit to get (permanent unrestricted ownership) of the hits for free, and they’ll trade a little of their attention as part of the deal.  We will make it easy for our users to get a weekly dose of the top 20 hits (in their favorite genre) and get free, legal ownership of those tunes in an easy and entertaining way.

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11 Comments

  1. Agreed. Though I can’t say for sure, this seems like a repackaged deal of what’s been in the past. Having to watch an ad before every download is cumbersome and obnoxious. Nice to see they figured out drm was a bad idea though.
    How about a choice of ads to watch? Let the customer decide which ads they are interested in seeing. I don’t want to watch an ad about the pharmaceutical industry even if I can get my T-pain fix. That’s why I stopped watching TV.
    This still isn’t hassle free enough to compete with file sharing. Though it goes without saying that this is all based upon what I’ve read about it and the interview above.

  2. Let us “set you free”
    Put up a website, give away their content for FREE, tell them they’ll get famous, go public and raise some cash $$$ – Ha Ha – for us of course.
    What, you expect us to do all that for free?

  3. Great point…and you read our minds… on Free All Music you can choose both the song you want and pick the advertiser/brand that you want to “free it” for you. Consumer decides both.

  4. That is true. The majors are not giving away their “Top 20 Hits For Free”. They are indeed rightfully getting paid for their product (by the advertiser you choose). There are two methods to get digital music; buy it or steal it. Free All Music is offering a different legal way… Have one of our brand/advertisers YOU LIKE buy it for you. All that you do is pick the song, pick the ad you like (:15sec video view), then download the DRM Free track. Consumer wins. Advertiser wins. Label get’s paid, artist gets paid. Easy.Legal.Free (to the consumer).

  5. That’s exciting. I want to see how the pick your advertiser function works. I always envisioned a system like this having trouble with start up because lack of diversity of advertisers (once it gets mainstream adoption, the advertisers will be lining up). I’ll be waiting for it to go live.

  6. “NAILLING: We are not a streaming site. Downloads only. Publishing is covered in our label deals.”
    Translation – it’s the labels responsibility to pay the mechanical royalty. songwriter will never get paid. The site is indemnified.
    Be interesting to see if they let bands doing cover songs on the site & if they do, if the publishers start suing for their rightfully owed mechanical royalty.

  7. Actually, if you read the article you’ll see that by ad-supported, they mean that the advertiser pays for the song download. Nothing’s really being given away for free, it’s just that an advertiser is footing the bill. Nice model, actually. Everyone seems to win.

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