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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students passed a milestone this week, having legally downloaded 2 million songs through free music service Ruckus.

Ryan Heatherly
Ryan Heatherly
Ruckus, which is provided by the university to all students at no cost, allows students free and legal access to millions of songs. Almost 10,000 UT students have subscribed.

“The success we’re seeing with Ruckus is really unprecedented,” said Ron Laffitte, UT associate dean of students. “It’s great that so many students are taking advantage of this opportunity.”

UT provides Ruckus as a legal alternative for students to have access to music. As part of an arrangement between UT and Ruckus, students have an exclusive connection to the Ruckus network that allows entire albums of music to be downloaded in a matter of seconds.

The 2 millionth song downloaded was “Won’t Back Down,” by Mat Kearney. The song was downloaded by Ryan Heatherly of Knoxville, a graduate student in the Professional Master of Business Administration program.

“I like his music, so I thought I’d download the whole album,” said Heatherly, who said he has been a Ruckus subscriber for about 3 weeks. “I’ve liked the service a lot. I haven’t really downloaded music in a while until I got the e-mail about Ruckus.”

As of Thursday, UT students had downloaded 2,109,125 songs through Ruckus. Enrollment in the program was at 9,801 students. In recent weeks, rap artist Kanye West has led the UT campus on the most-listened list, with his songs holding seven of the top 10 spots.

“Ruckus has been an instant success at UT as a result of great promotional cooperation from the administration and an incredibly engaged student body that enjoys good music and practices ethical and responsible digital citizenship,” said Chris Utah, Ruckus’ director of subscriber acquisitions. “We would expect nothing less from students in the Volunteer State.”

Ruckus is the most recent option offered by UT as part of UTunes, an effort to provide legal downloading for students that has been in place since 2004.

More than 173 colleges and universities across the country have signed on with Ruckus, which specializes in providing legal download services in the higher education field. A number of UT professors will be using Ruckus in their classes to download and share relevant musical selections with students.

Students can sign up for Ruckus at Students must register using their UT e-mail address. Music downloaded by students stays on their computer, allowing students to listen to the music even when they aren’t online. UT students who want to put their music onto portable MP3 players also can sign up for the premium Ruckus2Go service at a discounted rate under this new agreement.

More information about the UTunes program can be found at Information on UT’s copyright policy and how students can download music legally is available at


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,