Offers Songs in Exchange for Ads

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

The DRM-free digital music downloads are sponsored, meaning users get to watch a brief commercial in exchange for each MP3 download. Since the songs are paid for by advertisers, they’re free to the users. The service doesn’t require a software installation and is iPod-compatible, according to, which is owned by Atlanta-based Free All Media, LLC.

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

The public beta for is expected to launch in January 2010.

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., however, claims it’s service is different since it offers downloadable and not steaming music, and users get to keep the download permanently once it has been sponsored.