iPod & Mac users need not apply: Princeton signs with iPod- and Mac-incompatible Ruckus music outfit

“Princeton University has joined a growing list of colleges that have deals to allow students to download music free — and legally,” The Associated Press reports. “The Ivy League school announced the arrangement Wednesday with Ruckus, a Virginia-based company that markets music solely to college students.”

“Under the deal, Princeton students can put all the music they want on their computer hard drives through Ruckus’ library of 1.5 million tracks. The songs are free because advertisers pay the company to get on Web sites that students see,” AP reports.

AP reports, “But there’s a catch: It will cost students about $20 a semester to be able to put the tunes on their portable MP3 players. And the many Princeton students toting Apple’s iPod will be out of luck. The music won’t play on those popular devices.”

Full article here.
A stupid move by a supposedly top tier institution. Ruckus is a limited, exclusionary, Windows-only outfit. Apple iPods and Macs are not supported. How many Princeton students are excluded? Many. Look around, Princeton decision-makers. See all of those MacBooks? Notice all of those iMacs in the dorms? 45-percent of computers purchased at Princeton this year were Apple Macs, you morons! What idiot signed off on this stupidity?

Princeton has failed their student body. If they signed with an elevator service that offered narrow doors not wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, you’d bet there’d be a “ruckus” at Princeton, wouldn’t you?

There is zero difference here except they’re excluding a much larger group of students. Why has Princeton decided to exclude a large portion of their student body? Are Princeton students asking administrators why this bad deal was made? They should be.

The smart decision, the one that supports ALL students, whether they use Macs or suffer with Windows, and supports iPods, which we’d guestimate comprises 80-percent or more of Princeton students with MP3 players, is Apple’s iTunes U.

Apple’s iTunes U is a free, hosted service for colleges and universities that provides easy access to their educational content, including lectures and interviews, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Based on the same easy-to-use technology of the iTunes Store, iTunes U also offers typical Apple simplicity and portability. Through iTunes U, students can download content to their Macs or PCs, regardless of their location. They can listen to and view that content on their Mac or PC, or transfer it to iPod for listening or viewing on the go. Instructors can easily post and change content on their own without impacting the IT department. And, of course, students can upload their own content to share with professors or with the class.

In addition to providing a great conduit for digital academic content, iTunes is also the largest source of legal digital music available online. So students can buy and download music that has both educational and entertainment value, with all copyrights honored and the full support of the music industry.

Apple allows for the purchase of songs at a discount on behalf of educational institutions’ students through the iTunes Volume Songs Program.

More information: http://www.apple.com/education/products/ipod/itunes_u.html

Related articles:
45-percent of computers purchased at Princeton this year were Apple Macs – October 12, 2006
College students spurn ‘free’ music from iPod-incompatible iTunes Store also-rans – September 13, 2006
Free, legal and ignored: Mac- and iPod-incompatible beleaguered Napster dying at colleges – July 06, 2006
Ohio University chooses Apple’s iTunes U for students and faculty – May 11, 2006
University of California puts video lectures on Apple’s ‘iTunes U’ – April 25, 2006
University of Pennsylvania excludes Mac users with Windows-only music service – March 21, 2006
Apple and Stanford University open ‘Stanford on iTunes’ to the public – January 25, 2006
Apple expands free, hosted ‘iTunes U’ service for colleges and universities – January 24, 2006


  1. – It is insane that our higher-ed system is spending resources and time figuring out how to get students “free” download music legally so as to curb students from stealing it off the interent, because “If we don’t, they’ll steal it anyways” mentality.

    Hello?! Anyone with reason come in please!

    How about college’s focus on educating and lowering tuition $20 a semester!?

    Better yet, let’s use that money to teach our young minds-o-mush some ethical and moral boundries and the consequense of their actions…

    Oh sorry, what was I thinking?… Anyone got another Keg?!

  2. This is really bad. Once again a few decide for many. This looks just like the IT managers at companies, a few decide for the rest, and dont seem to care about their “customers” they only see “users” (i.e dummies)

  3. Just wondering, with such a compelling product as iTunes U, how did this deal with Princeton actually go through? Did they consider alternatives? Did anyone on the technology board know about iTunes U? Did Apple market iTunes U to every university? I wish we could find out their decision-making process, instead of them springing this surprise disaster on the college community. Usually huge deals like this have to go before a technology board for public or administrative input.

    Another unfortunate factor could be, as much as iTunes is popular, college admins and technology groups in the academic field don’t have a clue that iTunes U even exists. These decision-makers just sign on to whatever company courts them aggressively and first. I’m almost sure that Apple hasn’t done any sort of marketing for iTunes U. Remember how their academic market share was eroding a few years ago because they pulled all their personnel out of hyping Apple at schools?

  4. Never even heard of Ruckus, so that tells you how popular this outfit is. Probably has no name music by amature artists too.
    What a waste of money. I hope the students aren’t forced to pay $20 a semester for this crap. If not they won’t get much business from Princeton.

  5. Institutions are risk averse and that is what is driving these ‘agreements’. It’s not anything more than legal cover for schools from getting sued over students breaking the DMCA over their networks. They can go into court and state that they have provided a legal outlet for students to acquire digital music.

    Princeton’s admin doesn’t care who it’s with as long as it is available. Repeat- it’s not about providing a service to students as much as legal cover for the school.

  6. This is the epitome of the backroom deal, as was Microsoft’s deal with Universal to get a piece of every Zune sold.

    The deal that really matters is the one the individual makes when he or she purchases either music or a device to play it on.

  7. I hate to point it out… and in fact iTunes U may do this… but doesn’t that option exclude other mp3 players? I mean, yes, they are probably in the minority number wise. But if we’re going to bitch about segments of the population being excluded, shouldn’t we also be asking Apple to open iTunes U up to other players? Or at least asking for two services so none of the students are excluded?

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