2.5 million songs to be offered to students for free

Kiera Manion-Fischer

KSU signs contract with ‘Ruckus’


Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State students now have a free alternative to illegal music downloading.

The university has signed a contract with Ruckus, a legal music service for college students.

Students can register on the site with a Kent State e-mail address and download as much music as their hard drives can hold from a selection of more than 2.5 million songs.

The site also works as a social network and students can share playlists with friends.

Students need to download the Ruckus music player to play the songs, which are in WMA file format. Other players that support the format, such as Windows Media player, can be used to play the files, but the licenses expire after 30 days and need to be renewed through the Ruckus Web site.

The service will also include music videos and movies. Starting in August, movies more than two years old can be downloaded on campus.

But there’s a catch.

Students can only listen to the music on their computers unless they pay an extra $20 per semester to transfer files onto a non-iPod MP3 player.

The music does not work on non-Windows operating systems.

The digital rights management, or licensing software, is a Windows product, said Dan Roberts, lead IT security analyst at Kent State.

“We are looking for ways to provide access for users of iPods and Macs,” Roberts said. But he said it would have to be a solution from Apple through a different service.

Kimberly Price, associate IT security engineer, and Roberts helped coordinate the deal with Ruckus.

Price speaks to students who get in trouble with the Recording Industry Association of America.

She said students tell her they need music, but often use their computers as stereos.

The deal will be announced this week and promoted in the fall.

The Undergraduate Student Senate will also help advertise the service to students.

John Wetmore, senator for governmental affairs, said he thinks students will start using it as an alternative to illegal downloading.

He said being in the RIAA’s top 20 colleges that download music illegally is “not one of the ways you want your school to be recognized.”

Student can sign up for the service at www.ruckus.com. So far, at least 525 Kent State students have signed up.

Contact principal reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].