In Search of a Music Business Model

With Ads, Music Downloads Sing a New Tune

ON Hulu, the popular Web site that streams free television shows and other video, users have proved to be perfectly willing to watch short commercials, and a new site is betting that the same willingness will apply to downloading music., which began a test version for invited users on Dec. 22 and plans to open to the public in January, will allow users to download songs, which may be copied and shared β€” unencumbered, in other words, by digital rights management restrictions.

In return, instead of paying 99 cents a song as on iTunes, users must first watch a 15- to 30-second advertisement.

β€œIt’s iTunes meets Hulu,” said Richard Nailling, chief executive of FreeAllMusic.