LOS ANGELES – Ruckus Network, which distributes movies and music online to colleges nationwide, is expanding access to its ad-supported music download service to any U.S. college student.
Beginning Monday, any student with a valid university e-mail account will be able to use the service to download music to their computer.
The Herndon, Va.-based company aims to boost the rolls of college students who use its service to woo more advertisers seeking to market to young audiences. The company adopted the ad-supported business model about a year ago.
"Free and legal digital music has just become broadly available to the most active and engaged music consumer group on the planet," said Michael Bebel, Ruckus' president and chief executive.
Previously, Ruckus' service was only available to students at universities that had entered into agreements with the company.
The company estimates several hundred thousand students at more than 100 universities already use its service. Those students can download movies and also benefit from better network bandwidth and download speeds.
Students outside Ruckus' network of affiliated universities will not be able to download movies, but will have access to Ruckus' more than 2.1 million tracks, which they can download to their computer for free. To transfer audio files to a portable music player, however, users must pay either $5 a month or $19.99 per semester.
Previously, students at universities without an agreement with Ruckus had to pay $5.99 a month to download music from the service and couldn't move the tracks from their computer.