KSU’s free music raises Ruckus

Kelly Pickerel

Student opinion on a new music downloading program is mixed as more users sign up to legally download more than 2.5 million songs, videos and other forms of media.

Ruckus launched early in the summer, and since then more than 5,000 students, staff and faculty have signed up for the program.

David Siedlarczyk, sophomore fashion design major, said he is generally displeased with his Ruckus experience.

He said he dislikes how the program is not usable on Macintosh computers or on MP3 players such as iPods or Zunes.

But sophomore architecture major Nicole Kaptur said she enjoys Ruckus because it is a great way to preview and listen to new music.

“I hate listening to the radio because the same things are played all of the time, and iTunes can get expensive,” she said. “(With Ruckus), the music is free, and there is a great selection.”

In February, the Recording Industry Association of America released a list of the 25 worst offending piracy schools during the 2006-2007 academic year. Kent State was No. 17.

“We needed to get off that list,” said Kimberly Price, associate IT security engineer.

The relationship between the school and Ruckus was driven by Kent State’s position on the list.

Kent State has no financial commitment to Ruckus for offering the program.

“We did not put out one dime,” Price said. “Those ads at the bottom of the home page help pay for it.”

While being both free and legal, Ruckus offers some restrictions with its downloads. The music, offered only in WMA format, cannot be burned onto CDs. The program, so far, is only available on PCs.

According to Ruckus’ Web site, the music-encryption required by record companies that makes subscription music possible does not work with non-Windows operating systems, such as Macs.

Ruckus spokesman Tom Hurley said some newer Macs can run Ruckus with a certain type of software, but it’s still being looked into.

Price said she hasn’t heard of any difficulties with Ruckus yet this year.

Even though music downloaded from Ruckus is not iPod compatible, Cait Rybiski, junior fashion merchandising and business administration major, said she doesn’t mind.

“I usually just end up listening to all my music on my computer anyway,” she said.

Rybiski said the service on Ruckus is faster than other services.

“It was really annoying having other users with really slow connections so it would take hours sometimes (to download),” she said. “Now, I only have to wait 15 seconds for an entire album to download.”

Ashish Pandit, biomedical sciences and molecular biology graduate student, decided to look into Ruckus for Hindi songs.

“I’m from India and prefer to listen to Hindi songs, and I was surprised to actually find some on Ruckus,” he said.

All students need is their Kent State e-mail address to get started. They can sign up for the services at www.ruckus.com.

Rybiski said she encourages the use of Ruckus.

“It’s free, and we don’t have to worry about anyone catching us,” she said. “If the RIAA sues you, you’re going to wish you had used this instead. I mean, why wouldn’t you use it?”

Contact student politics reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].