The nearly 1,200 MU students who have signed up for the Cdigix music service since MU began offering it in 2005 will have to find another source for their MP3s.
Terry Robb, spokesman for MU’s Division of Information Technology, said the company notified MU officials on Feb. 9 that it will shut down its digital music service on April 30.
While Robb said that it is too early to say if MU will subscribe to another music download service, a new program has already sprung up to fill the void.
Ruckus, a music and movie network targeting college students, recently opened its music library to college campuses around the country. Ruckus contracted with individual colleges to use the network and is now expanding to compete with other download services such as iTunes and eMusic.
Ruckus’ library boasts more than 2 million tracks that students can listen to for free. Students can download songs to MP3 players for a fee, ranging from 79 to 99 cents per song. Registration requires an “edu” e-mail address. Students can register for free; faculty and alumni are charged a monthly fee of $8.99 in addition to the cost of downloads.
Students who use Ruckus will also be able to interact through personal profiles, join message boards and post photos that can be stored on a social network page similar to those available at Facebook.com and MySpace.com.
One disadvantage of Ruckus is that downloads are not compatible with the Apple iPod. In order to download Ruckus music to an iPod, students must convert files to the appropriate format by using additional software.
MU’s contract with Cdigix was one of several steps the university took to discourage students from illegally downloading music. Those efforts seem to be working, especially since MU shut down access to peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, which until last month were allowed only between midnight and 5 a.m.
The Recording Industry Association of America, a music-label trade group that has been cracking down on copyright violations, filed more than 300 complaints against MU students suspected of downloading music illegally in 2003. By 2006, the number of complaints had dropped to 122, a nearly 60 percent decrease. No complaints have been filed by the recording industry group since MU shut down all access to peer-to-peer networks, Robb said.
“With peer-to-peer blocked, it makes it very difficult to share copyrighted music. I think it’s possible to change it into a file format to transfer through e-mail, but I don’t really want to encourage that.”
Jacob Bolzenius, an MU junior, said he used a file-sharing program called MyTunes Redux to get free downloads from his friends in the MU residence halls. But, the loss of peer-to-peer networking hasn’t upset him too much.
He is still able to use iTunes to download songs, but he has to pay for each one. “It’s like 99 cents from iTunes,” he said, “so it’s not really a big deal.”