Free music startup SpiralFrog has inked a licensing deal with Sony’s publishing unit, the companies announced today. So with the new deal, how many new songs will the ad-supported service add to its catalogue of 800,000? Not many. That’s because in order to distribute music, online services need pacts with both music publishers — who own the underlying compositions to songs — and the owners of the songs themselves, usually the major record labels.
So clearing the publishing rights is an important step for SpiralFrog, but it’s only half the battle. And right now the only major label that has signed on with SpiralFrog is Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. The other kicker: Every time SpiralFrog does ink one of these deals, it ends up forking over a large check as an advance . That’s one of the main reasons the company burned through $12 million in two and a years prior to launching this fall, and why it is looking for another $18 million to get it through the next year.
Related: SAI’s SpiralFrog coverage