a number of months ago a small company came to guilford college and told us about a product that provded “free” music to students. ruckus provided this service, a server and the content.

sounds too good to be true. a free, legal (BIG one) tool for students to connect to a large music library and download music. after doing some research we found a few flaws:
one, they did not have a macintosh client (and still do not)
two, free is for the time you are a student. it is a subscription service so upon graduation, the music library becomes “unavailable” unless you pay for a subscription
three, it will not work with iPods (and this is a “fault” of apple and DRM, not ruckus).

over the last months, ruckus has worked with state networks (in NC we have NCREN) and they are putting their servers on NCREN’s network. anyone connected to the NCREN network can publicize this to their student body and away they go! ruckus makes money via advertisements, the connection to the server from campus is “local” so it is very fast. upon graduation their hope is that the collection of music will drive them to subscribe.

smart, the right market, and a good model. i’m strongly considering this for guilford, but not yet sold on this – some further discussions and we may be doing something by spring break…


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