Does It Come in Brown?

Here’s the latest challenger in the legal/illegal music wars:, an ad-supported Web site that allows visitors to download music and videos free of charge, was scheduled to launch Monday in the U.S. and Canada after months of “beta” testing…

To deter users from posting copies of songs and videos they get from SpiralFrog, the service requires that users register and log on to the site at least once a month. Otherwise, the content locks up and can’t be played.

The Web site’s registration screen queries users on demographic filters such as their age, gender and ZIP code. The information is used to determine what kind of ads the users see when they are on the site…

Downloads cannot be burned to a CD, but they can be transferred to dozens of digital music players. The content, however, is not compatible with Apple’s Macintosh computers or its market-leading iPod.

Let me get this straight. SpiralFrog is going to make me sit through ads, track my usage, and force me to log on to their site every month? No CD-burning, no even for backup? Oh, and I can’t play their music on even one of the 120 million iPods out there? No thanks. Apple’s DRM might not be the greatest thing in the world, but at least it’s optional, in the sense that I don’t have to buy anything from iTunes.

But I saved the best part for last:

“We believe it will be a very powerful alternative to the pirate sites,” said Joe Mohen, chairman and founder of New York-based SpiralFrog Inc.

Just like the heavily-discounted (and heavily-restrictive) Zune has proven to be a powerful alternative to… well, nothing, really.