EverAd has designed an encryption technology that places restrictions on the use of downloaded music files so they can be played only when people accept banner advertising.
Through EverAd's partnership with Redwood City, Calif.-based Myplay, consumers can select music from 65,000 tracks from EverAd's "Play J" catalog and store the music in Myplay's online storage system, the Myplay Locker. In addition, EverAd will offer streaming capabilities through the partnership.
With the wild popularity of music-swapping services such as Napster, music companies have been searching not only for new anti-copying technologies, but also for viable business models to counter rampant online piracy.
Major labels have been experimenting with selling tracks over the Web as well as creating online subscription services. Other models built on encouraging free distribution have also been suggested, including those that would give away recorded music as a promotion to attract concert ticket and merchandise sales.
Though EverAd has inked a series of partnerships with independent record labels and distributors interested in its ad-supported model, it has yet to win the endorsement of a major label. Even if the technology wins industry support, analysts predict that consumers may not accept advertising when other free alternatives exist.
"It's nice they have encrypted music to download...but having it based on advertising is difficult," said Gartner senior analyst P.J. McNealy.