Nothing gets the digital music industry atwitter more than a new free music download service. This time it's a service called Mulve, which - when working - allows users to search for and download digital music for free.

What's different and interesting about Mulve is that it's not a peer-to-peer service. Tracks are not downloaded from other users' computers, but rather from a dedicated server. Here's how it works: users must download a 2MB executable file that runs in the background of their computers. They just enter the name of an artist or song in the interface, and Mulve then provides a list of results that users can download immediately at no cost (the "project" simply asks for donations).

After news of the service broke, the flood of interest seems to have caused the site's servers to crash, so further exploration is not possible at this time. But already it's been dubbed the "nightmare scenario" for the music industry due to its focus on anonymity. The rationale for this claim is that because it's not a P2P service and requires no registration from users, there's no way to track down who's downloading from the site, and therefore users don't need to be afraid of "getting caught."

But the music industry today is more interested in targeting the purveyors of such sites than it is dissuading users through lawsuits. Who exactly is behind Mulve and where the service gets it music is not fully clear. Billboard.biz is investigating and will update when more information is know.

Here's how the creators described themselves, as reported by TorrentFreak

Originating from computer adept backgrounds, two guys, both musicians, met one day. After a drink, it was final, they decided to start developing a program like no other, something that would allow people to find a tune they wanted, no slower than a click of a button. Mulve, is just that program. After years of development we wanted to bring you something that you would enjoy loading up, something that was not for personal gain or for money. Something that could run flawlessly without so much as a momentary hiccup. Something that would prove to be a monumental breakthrough in terms of music discovery.

That's suspiciously short on detail, and smacks of hype over heat. As for where it gets its music, FileShareFreak quotes what it says is Mulve's development team as saying the following:

Without giving too much away, I can tell you that we are obviously not a P2P client and in fact we don't search open FTPs. Instead we directly connect to a few other servers overseas which store the music. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal which these are.

Those "overseas servers" are thought be based in Russia.

Why services like Mulve get so much adoration so quickly remains a mystery to me. The same outlets that nitpick over the tiniest of perceived flaws on pay music services gleefully turn a blind eye to far more glaring problems with sites like Mulve that give it away. Perhaps it's because they identify with the rebellious nature of sites that thumb their noses at the music industry's deal terms. There's certainly no shortage of industry critics who'd like to see the labels and publishers fail.

And while the music industry should be concerned, it's unlikely Mulve is going to become the next Pirate Bay, no matter how much the pirate fringe hopes it to be so.