Photo illustration by Juan Villa
Music downloads have been an issue ever since Napster, a peer-to-peer file sharing program, was sued in 2000.
Since then, there have been a number of programs, such as LimeWire, that have allowed users to download and share files illegally.
However, there is a Web site that allows users to download millions of songs â€” free and legally. The Web site, Ruckus.com, is free to college students and has a library of over three million songs through established partnerships with record labels. It also allows users to play free video games and watch a variety of free videos.
Tim Hurley, who works at Blue Point Venture Marketing for Ruckus, said in an e-mail interview with The Collegian that the service is available to students, faculty and staff at any college or university â€” as long as they have a valid campus e-mail address â€” those that end with .edu.
While Ruckus is only free for current college students, any alumni, faculty or staff can have unlimited access to Ruckusâ€™ 3 million tracks for only $8.99 per month.
â€œRuckus is the only ad-supported music downloading service of its kind,â€ Hurley said.
He also said that Ruckus makes money off of simple, non-intrusive ads, so students and schools do not have to pay.
â€œThe tracks are from all of the major record labels and thousands of independents, plus music videos, films, shorts and social features that allow for sharing with friends, and unlimited discovery and downloads,â€ Hurley said.
David Ibarra, a sophomore mass communication and journalism major, said that he uses LimeWire to download his music. Upon learning about Ruckus, he said he would use the service because it is legal, and because LimeWire sometimes messes up his computer.
When signing on to Ruckus.com, the user is prompted to download the Ruckus Media Player to download songs, but the player will only work on the Windows operating system. Mac OS systems will not work.
The service can be run natively on certain, newer-generation or Intel-based Macs which run Windows, Hurley said.
Non-Intel-based Mac systems, those two to three years old, can run Ruckus through software products such as BootCamp.
For even older Macs, those three to five years old, the program can run via other Windows emulation software. This may cause a problem for users who have popular MP3 players like iPods because they are not supported by the program.
Ruckus is compatible with the Windows PlaysForSure format, and iPods only play Appleâ€™s proprietary format and MP3s. There are other brands of MP3 players that will work with Ruckus, but they are not free. Ruckus charges users a small fee in order to transfer their music onto supported MP3 players.
Hurley said music in a userâ€™s Ruckus library is available for purchase for only 79 cents to 99 cents per song that can be put on supported MP3 players.
â€œWe also offer a portable subscription service called Ruckus-to-Go for $19.99 per semester,â€ Hurley said. â€œWith Ruckus-to-Go a student can put their Ruckus library on any PlaysForSure compatible device.â€
Ruckus has also launched an application on Facebook.com. The application gives the latest news about Ruckus, such as new albums available and the userâ€™s schoolâ€™s top ten most-played songs. It also allows users to leave reviews, and comments and contribute to a discussion board.