It's the rare college student who will turn down free anything -- free food, free booze, and free love are all top priorities for the modern scholar -- so we were more than a little surprised to learn that those online music subscriptions being offered gratis by a number of colleges haven't really taken off like one would assume. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the services from Napster and company have proven so unpopular that many schools are dropping the program altogether after only a year or two, although the RIAA claims that the number of participating campuses will actually increase "pretty significantly" this fall. Even if that's true, it's not clear why students at newly-subscribed schools would behave any differently than ones who already have access to the free tunes and still choose alternative distribution methods -- most notably the iTunes music store and the still-popular P2P networks. Ultimately it seems to be the services' many restrictions that are turning off the college crowd -- tracks can't always be burned to disc or transferred to a DAP, and they also disappear after four years -- and the fact that students today treasure their iPods even more than their precious cans of beer only makes non-FairPlay content that much more undesirable.

[Via TechDirt]

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