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US students get free music downloads

Students will be bombarded with advertising to fund the music service

Students in America are being given the opportunity to legally download music for free via a new ads-based network service.

Students are often accused of being the most prolific illegal downloaders on the web, and so Ruckus has come up with this service offering free music to students via the campus intranet.

It's a campus-based social networking server, allowing users to download music files and create personal profiles whilst sharing playlists with other users. In simple terms, this is iTunes meets Myspace .

The idea is that even with services like Napster providing all-you-can eat offers for as little as $15 (£7.50) a month, students are still more likely to steal music via BitTorrent clients or other P2P services.

Originally Ruckus wanted to charge US universities to host the service on its networks. But after only 20 institutions signed up, it was decided to make the service free, with the funding coming from advertising.

All the major record labels have signed up, as well as some indie ones. And all have agreed to supply music to the service at a cheaper price than normal.

The free music service is available to anyone in the US with a .edu email address.