Tuition and fees are soaring as endowments and state aid for education shrink -- and now students won't even be able to get their music for free.

I logged on to Ruckus this morning to download some music and was disturbed to see this notice: "UNFORTUNATELY THE RUCKUS SERVICE WILL NO LONGER BE PROVIDED. THANKS."

Ruckus offered unlimited free and legal music downloads to college students, Its massive library of songs made it a great alternative to fee-based services like iTues, with the caveat that you couldn't load the songs onto an iPod or CD. The service was only available to those with college emailed addresses.

TechCrunch reports that "Last year Ruckus was acquired by Total Music, the joint venture between Sony and UMG, with the intention of using it as a backend for a service which still has yet to launch. Total Music has been struggling for some time - we hear that it made a strong pitch to provide Facebook's music service, but that it was eventually denied when the social network was unwilling to share revenue and user data, which would have been part of the deal."

It's a sad day for college students but in this economy I won't be going back to paying for music anytime soon. I'll have to settle for listening to music on YouTube for now. Hopefully a Ruckus copycat will pop up soon.

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