Program creates ruckus at Akron

“Free and legal are two words every student likes to hear together. Thanks to Associated Student Government, University of Akron students can now legally download unlimited free music. Sort of. Online music service Ruckus, which boasts 2.5 million songs, is a free and legal service offered to all students with an .”

Free and legal are two words every student likes to hear together.

Thanks to Associated Student Government, University of Akron students can now legally download unlimited free music.

Sort of.

Online music service Ruckus, which boasts 2.5 million songs, is a free and legal service offered to all students with an .edu e-mail address.

The files, however, are only playable on the Ruckus media player and cannot be burned to a disc or transfered to an iPod.

The Ruckus player also doesn’t work on Apple operating systems.

While the service is available to every college student in the country, UA has partnered with Ruckus to make on-campus downloading faster and keep its network running efficiently.

The program itself is free, for students and the university itself; it’s ad-based, said Nathan Klettlinger, a senator from the college of engineering. Ruckus brings in a lot of different advertisements that you’re going to see on your media player and on the Ruckus Web site. That’s pretty much how they pay for it. They also have a couple different subscription services that they also use to supplement it.

Despite the limitations, in only two days online at UA, Ruckus has had a flood of new users.

This morning, as of about 11:20 a.m. we have about 2,023 users, Klettlinger said.

One of the stipulations in the contract between Ruckus and the university requires UA to send out an e-mail every semester just to let students know about it. Akron also has to have more than 3,000 users on the campus server by the start of the fall ’08 semester or face an $8,000 installation fee, the senator said.

We don’t really see it as a problem at all, Klettlinger said.

The senator said the representatives at Ruckus told him that at 38,000 music downloads, Akron has had the most downloads in the first day. That number beats some of the biggest schools around the country, including the University of North Carolina, Indiana State University and Michigan State University.

Because of Ruckus’s design, there is minimal cost to the university. The senators compared the service to the search engine Google, in how it is financially supported through advertising.

Pretty much all the cost we put into it was a little bit of time getting everything set up, Klettlinger said. They sent us a server and they installed the server. We had to help them get that set up and installed and ready to go.

After that, it should be pretty much maintenance-free.

Ruckus is responsible for all the maintenance, all the patches and UA is just responsible for housing it here. The university only has to pay the electric bill, which is small, said Eric Calabretta, a senator representing Summit College.

The service, however, does need your computer to meet specific requirements.

You have to update all your Microsoft stuff, Calabretta said. It took me a little bit just because I had an old version of media player, but once you get past that, it’s fine.

Klettlinger said he was responsible for introducing Ruckus to UA after reading about it in an e-mail he received.

This is one of those advertisements that got sent out and I looked into it and was like, ‘free music, that’s kind of weird, I wonder what the catch is.’ The university must be paying it, it must be going into the fees or something, he said. I looked into it a little bit more and found out it was all ad-based, and completely legal and new.

Both senators are hoping Ruckus will allow a similar free movie and television service along with their music service. It is currently offered as a pay service, but it is something students may be able to look forward to this fall.

That’s something they’ve been talking about but it hasn’t really come yet, Calabretta said.