gamifies free music, starting today

Ever since Spotify launched in the US with its ad-supported but otherwise unlimited free tier of service (at least for the first six months of Spotify USA's existence), other streaming music offerings have had a hard time getting the attention of music lovers. After all, it's tough to compete with free and most consumers I've talked to say they'll worry about Spotify's limits once they kick in (if they kick in) when that six months is up. has decided to fight back. Later this morning their FreePlay service launches. FreePlay is also an ad-supported free music-streaming service that gives listeners access to all 11 million songs in MOG's library. In fact, MOG is sweetening the deal a bit by making the service ad free for the first 60 days. You can sign up and listen ad-free for two months, and it doesn't require a credit card to do so.

So what's the catch?

The catch is that you don't get an unlimited amount of music. Instead you start with a "full tank" of credits that depletes as you listen. On the bright side, you can earn more free music credits by doing various things that you might be doing anyway: sharing play lists, referring friends to the service, or even checking out new artists (yeah, it seems like you can earn free music by listening to free music, in certain circumstances). In fact, MOG CEO David Hyman says that "Tastemakers and influencers can easily get a lifetime of free on-demand music. " Eventually MOG will add other ways to earn credits, such as watching movie trailers. I also assume, though it was never spelled out in the press release, that your 'tank' will slowly refill over time as well.

Oh, it's also worth mentioning that we're talking about MOG on your computer. If you want it on your smartphone or some other connected device, you'll need to upgrade to a paid subscription. That seems to be typical behavior in the streaming music business.

I'm finding this model pretty interesting. We're always hearing about "gamification" these days but I, at least, don't feel like I actually encounter it very often. But this new MOG scheme sounds like a gamification poster child. Maybe I'm a hopeless geek but it sounds like it'll actually be fun to try to earn credits. At least in theory...we'll have to see how it works out when it launches at 9 AM ET today.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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