SpiralFrog has reached an agreement with EMI Music Publishing, one of the largest music publishers in the world, to use its songs and lyrics for a music download service scheduled to roll out in a beta version by November.

SpiralFrog, which announced its first deal with Universal Music Group last week, plans to offer free song downloads, with the service funded through advertising.

"This is just the start of signing major labels and music publishers to offer their catalogues to the users of SpiralFrog," said Neville Hobson, SpiralFrog spokesman.

SpiralFrog is one of several technology companies and music publishers forging alliances in an effort to suppress illegal music downloading, blamed by record labels for falling sales.

SpiralFrog said its service will be a high-quality alternative to file-sharing sites that are "characterised by poor-quality music, missing song details and spyware." Music on SpiralFrog will be in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, so it won't work on iPods.

The record labels will retain the power to set restrictions on how a song can be used, Hobson said. It's planned that songs will be playable on a user's computer and transferable to two portable devices.

But the songs can't be burned to a CD, and they can't be shared with other people, he said. The songs will remain playable only as long as a person regularly logs into their SpiralFrog account.

Apple's competitors are experimenting with other business models such as subscription and ad-funded free services, to lure users away from iTunes.

SpiralFrog's deal with EMI will also allow users to search and display the lyrics from EMI's catalogue, the companies said.