Ruckus shut down nationwide

Kate Carrubba

Ruckus, the Web site that offered free music to college students, suddenly shut down nationwide, leaving Villanova students without a place to legally download free music.

“Everyone is concerned,” said Tom Mogan, director of Student Development. “We’re researching options for a replacement.”

The shutdown occurred on the afternoon of Feb. 6 with almost no warning. Visitors to the Ruckus Web site were greeted with a message that said, “Unfortunately the Ruckus service will no longer be provided. Thanks.”

Music that has not passed its renew date will still work, but expired music will not be renewed because the DRM licensing server has been shut down.

The Ruckus Facebook application displayed a similar message regarding the shutdown, which said, “Ruckus had to shut down the party due to over crowdedness. Please rock out to some music and we’ll get the party going again shortly.”

However, the application has since been removed, indicating that the service’s return is unlikely.

According to SGA President Bryan Wagner, SGA is planning on replacing Ruckus on campus; however, no specific options have been identified.

SGA is in contact with other universities around the country who used Ruckus in order to get input on a possible replacement.

Wagner also mentioned the need to coordinate any new service with UNIT to ensure that the Villanova system can handle the change.

SGA’s goal for the implementation of a new system is the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.

“We are very excited to take on this project for the students,” Wagner said. “As always, SGA is continuing to work for the entire student body.”

Wagner also said that the Ruckus shutdown will actually benefit Villanova students, since there are currently many more options for legal and free music downloads that weren’t available when the original agreement with Ruckus was made.

He states that the goal is to have the overall system even better for students to use.

“It is a common feeling and opinion that Ruckus should be replaced on campus,” Wagner said. “Many students used Ruckus frequently to download songs or entire albums.”

Villanova’s initial agreement with Ruckus was made in January 2006.

Ruckus was chosen from similar music services, such as Cdigix.

At the time, ‘Nova was one of the first universities involved with the service, and the agreement involved the installation of Ruckus servers on campus, which improved download speed for students.

The initial agreement did not provide any financial benefit to the University and was purely for the students’ benefit.

Not long afterwards, Ruckus changed its operating model and opened its service to all college students.

“It just happened,” Mogan said. “We weren’t notified at all.”

However, ‘Nova continued to benefit from its original agreement, since the Ruckus servers remained on campus.

Villanova also continued to publicize its association with Ruckus, such as during New Student Orientation at the beginning of the fall semester.

According to an article about the shutdown in the Washington Post, Ruckus started in 2004 as a subscription service at 82 colleges and universities across the country.

Due to a sluggish performance, Ruckus revamped itself and debuted in early 2007 as an ad-supported, free downloadable service for any college student with a .edu e-mail address.

New features included access to nearly 4,000 movies and T.V. shows for an extra $15 per month.

Ruckus was also available to college faculty and alumni, although they had to pay a monthly fee for access.

Despite the free music downloads, many college students disliked using Ruckus because its music could not be transferred to mp3 players such as the ever-popular iPod.