Universal's Kent Reemerges, Offers Music To Madison Avenue's Ears

Big music label Universal Music Group is backing SpiralFrog, a new ad-supported music download service being run by former Universal McCann CEO Robin Kent. Universal said it would make its catalog available for free to consumers in the U.S. and Canada via SpiralFrog's system, which allows users to access licensed music without any risk of exposure to adware, spyware or other programming that has been a turnoff in previous peer-to-peer music services.

"Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling," stated Kent, who stepped down as head of Interpublic's Universal McCann last year during Interpublic's defense of General Motors' $2 billion plus media buying account, which it lost. Publicis' Nick Brien was brought in to succeed Kent.

Kent touted SpiralFrog's approach as being a superior experience for both consumers and advertisers. Advertisers are ensured consumers will be exposed to their ads in a wholesome, attentive environment, and consumers gain access to music without the threats associated with pirate download services.



SpiralFrog, which is aimed at the youth market ages 13 to 34, is already winning fans among advertisers and on Madison Avenue.

"Our audience is heavily into music and can be more easily reached on the web," Oscar Feldenkreis, vice-chairman, president and COO of fashion marketer Perry Ellis International, said as part of the announcement.

"The challenge is to find ways to integrate messaging and content to engage and add value to consumers' lives rather than just add to the message clutter out there," added Andrew McLean, chief client officer global at GroupM's Mediaedge:cia unit.

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