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Turntable seeks label deals, MOG offers free songs

As we wait for Apple's iCloud music service, competitors are scurrying to avoid being shoved into the shadows.

A couple of smaller players in the digital music sector are maneuvering to keep pace in an increasingly crowded field., a startup music service with an emphasis on sharing songs with friends, is in talks with the four major record companies about obtaining "unprecedented" streaming-license agreements, according to a report today from Bloomberg. Over at MOG, a scrappy music service that has struggled for years to build interest, announced that it would offer a limited number of songs for free--provided users are willing to work for the privilege.

With Apple expected to soon officially roll out the iCloud music service and with Google and Amazon continuing to build up their Web music units, smaller companies are in danger of getting shoved into the shadows. Another large competitor is Spotify, the European dynamo that crossed the Atlantic earlier this year and has won many critical reviews in the United States.'s CEO told Bloomberg that he wants to "grow internationally." He said his company is trying to create a unique licensing arrangement with the labels but didn't offer any details. Turntable has about 600,000 users.

MOG, based in Berkeley, Calif., is ripping a page out of Spotify's playbook. Music fans like nothing better than the offer of free songs. But they should know that the the days of unlimited free and legal music are over. MOG will enable users to access its music library of 11 million songs up until their so-called free-play tank runs empty. To increase the size of their free-play tank a user must be willing to interact with MOG's advertisers, or share their MOG playlists with others.

The more they do this, the more free plays they receive.

Spotify doesn't require users to complete any chores to get free music but soon, even that the service will cap free music at 20 hours per month. The goal with all of the new legal services is to get consumers paying for music once again.