Normally, I am against music downloading services that don’t allow you to easily transfer music from one device to another — hello Napster 2.0! — because if I paid for it, I want to own it. However, there is a service called Ruckus, which is targeting college campuses with what I think is a win-win concept. After a school signs up for this service, students can download a player and access a library of songs for free. The only catch is that the songs aren’t portable. You can’t copy them to your iPod or burn them to a CD. Normally, that’s a sticking point for me, but not this time, and here are a couple of reasons why:
First of all, the songs are free and legal, meaning that students can experiment and discover new artists and songs without financial and legal risk.
Secondly, if a student wants to pay for a song to which they have full copy & burn right, they have that option, right there from Ruckus. Clearly, the thinking is that the easy access to experimentation can and will easily transmogrify into fully portable and paid-for downloads in the future. Especially after the students discover the music that will affect them for the rest of their lives. As someone who has been hunting new music all of his life and is more than willing to pay for the things that I’ve come to love, this makes complete and utter sense.