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MOG to debut free on-demand music service

September 14, 2011 |  1:35 pm

Mogservice
MOG Inc., a digital music company based in Berkeley, on Thursday is launching a free version of its streaming service that normally goes for $4.99 for computer access to $9.99 for cellphone and mobile listening.

The offering cranks up the competition among players in a small but growing market for subscription-based music services dominated by Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Slacker, Napster and others.

Unlike online radio services such as Pandora in which listeners don’t always get to hear the exact songs they want, subscription services let customers access libraries of millions of tunes they can play on demand.

Until recently, most of these services gave potential customers only a small taste of their services, trials anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, before asking them to pay. That changed in July when Spotify, a Swedish company with 10 million users throughout Europe, debuted its service in the U.S. with a free but limited service supported by advertising.

Mog Meter MOG is the first U.S. company to counter with its own free version. Dubbed FreePlay, the service gives users who access the service from computer browsers a “tank” of free music. Users who do things to help the company reach new customers, such as create playlists or recruit friends, will be rewarded with more free spins.

Sometime next year, they can also interact with sponsors or advertisers to refill their tanks by, for example, watching a movie trailer or subscribing to an email newsletter.

“There’s no cap, so you can easily get a lifetime of free music,” said MOG’s chief executive, David Hyman.

So, what’s the catch?

MOG, like Spotify, hopes that the free version will tempt users to sign up for the subscription service, which lets users listen to the ad-free service on mobile devices, cars and home entertainment systems.

“This is a way for us to make sure the world can get a taste of our service,” Hyman said.

-- Alex Pham

Photos courtesy of MOG

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