Boing Boing seems to have the most details on the Spiral Frog service, though some details are still missing at this time. Apparently Universal Music has signed on with Spiral Frog to deliver music from the Universal catalog and it is rumored that Spiral Frog is in discussions with other music labels.
Essentially Spiral Frog will offer an ad-supported music service, so instead of paying a monthly subscription like Napster, you will simply have to view advertisements in order to keep your downloaded, DRM’d tracks playing. Details from Boing Boing:
Spiral Frog will offer a desktop downloader for Windows Media Files (no iPods!) that can be listened to on one PC and two portable devices. Here’s the kicker - you must log in to the Spiral Frog service at least once per month, and see their ads, or your files will stop playing!
Spiral Frog will also offer far more than just music, but also video and other digital content. The selling point here is that users will be able to access media legally, without the malware, bad network connections and pirate’s shame that comes from other online media sources.
Obviously the details listed above are not set in stone and probably will change once the service goes active. No information is available yet on the bitrate for the audio, how long and/or how many ads you have to view, etc.
Spiral Frog’s site lists its launch date as December of 2006, which is interesting as it relates to the launch date of the Microsoft Zune media player and service although it is not yet entirely clear if the Zune player will support PlaysForSure-type subscription downloads.