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FreeAllMusic Drops a Beat

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An ad-sponsored digital music download service called FreeAllMusic.com began a private beta this week. The service's first sponsors include large brands like Coca-Cola, Warner Bros. Television, Zappos and LG.

The DRM-free digital music downloads are sponsored, meaning users must watch a brief commercial in exchange for each MP3. The service doesn't require a software installation and is iPod-compatible, according to FreeAllMusic, which is owned by Atlanta-based Free All Media.

During the private beta, FreeAllMusic is offering 15-20 free downloads per month, starting on every "New Music Tuesday." Users that have registered for the service must create a "micro-sponsorship" for each song, and they have to select a brand to sponsor the download. The company said the brands exclusively own the download process, including video ads.

The public beta for FreeAllMusic is expected to launch next month.

The concept of serving up ads to music fans isn't new. Last January, online music service Pandora added audio commercials to the mix by running one 15-second ad every couple of hours. FreeAllMusic, however, claims its service is different since it offers downloads (and not steaming music), and users get to keep songs permanently once they have been sponsored.