I found this article in this morning’s New York Times about big labels offering free music to college students. However, there will be some substantial restrictions. The service is called Rukus Network. They’ve licensed music from big labels at a reduced fee and are offering downloads for free. You have to download Rukus software to download and play music. Also, schools have to agree to install a server on their campus networks.
Sounds pretty swell. Problem is if you want to transfer your mp3’s from Rukus to your mp3 player. You have pay $5 a month and it only works with players made by Creative and ScanDisk. The music won’t play on the Zune or the iPod. Boo.
I guess this could still be useful if you wanted to test run some songs before you decided to buy the cd or download it off of iTunes. However, streaming audio like Pandora and other places are probably just as good for discovering new music.