Tech students have access to one less free music downloading service following the shutdown of the Ruckus Network. Ruckus, a digital rights management (DRM) service, and its parent company Total Music LLC both closed their doors last Friday.
“Until the closure notice was posted on Ruckus’ site late last Friday, no one at Tech was given any warning that a shutdown was impending,” said Kaitlyn Frazier, undergraduate student body vice president.
Ruckus served over 80 schools and universities prior to its closing. The service acquired licensing to distribute an unlimited amount of music for free amongst its users but with occasional relicensing after certain dates.
“I thought it was great. It gave students a chance for students to listen to music they normally can’t get for free…. As students, they gave us money back in our budget that we would spend on entertainment,” said Duane Carver, a second-year CMPE major.
Although the service made it possible for students to download free music legally, Ruckus generated criticism amongst some users at Tech due to its relicensing, ads and compatibility with certain operating systems.
“I had abandoned Ruckus a long time ago for Pandora. I could never figure it out for Vista, [though] I did for Windows 98. But when Vista came out I gave up,” said Ryan Gentes, a fourth-year ME major.
Tech had signed with Ruckus in August of 2006. The contract was set to end in fall 2009. However, Ruckus switched to an ad-based player in 2007; since then, SGA has not been financially or administratively tied to Ruckus. Because of this, SGA is not contractually bound to Ruckus. Thus, SGA is not legally bound to the 2006 contract.
“SGA has not been financially responsible for Ruckus service and was therefore not directly impacted by its closure…. We will definitely pursue alternative campus music services and plan to have one of our committees conduct an in-depth investigation into the viability of [another] provider,” Frazier said.
Even after the close of Ruckus, students still have access to other free streaming music services, such as Pandora or Youtube and paid subscription services such as Rhapsody.
In fact, not many Tech students have reported feeling discouraged by Ruckus shutting down for good.
“[The shut-down] won’t stop me from listening to music,” said Joseph Foote, third-year MSE major. “It was terrible, but it was free.… It had a lot, but it didn’t have everything.”