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Qtrax launches today with free P2P music downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 27 Jan 2008 2:35 User comments (11)

Qtrax launches today with free P2P music downloads A new free music download service is getting ready to launch. A P2P-based service called Qtrax is supposed to be going live today, offering 100% ad-supported music downloads, and apparently a selection of over 25 million songs. A Mac OS X beta is supposed to be coming in March. Although at least one website is reporting that the service was to go live at 12 AM today, there doesn't appear to be a download link available as of two hours later.
Last year marked the launch of SpiralFrog, the first free music to work closely with the major record labels, which occured several months after the firing of original CEO Robin Kent. Undeterred, Kent started an advertising firm with fellow SpiralFrog veteran Lance Ford. That company, called Rebel Digital is now responsible for selling the ads necessary to fund Qtrax.

The similarities to SpiralFrog don't end there either. Like that service, Qtrax will be paying royalties based on how often each downloaded song is played. Also like SpiralFrog, that begs the question of how such a service can manage to exist in the long term, with recurring expenses for a single download, regardles of how much ad revenue that download might include.

One area where Qtrax certainly distinguishes themselves from SpiralFrog is their selection of music, where they appear to have better than a 20:1 advantage. They have deals with all four major labels - Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group.

Of course, with DRM comes the usual concerns about whether the songs will be playable on portable music players. As usual, there's at least one platform that isn't supported, and that's the iPod. While many of Apple's loyal customers will no doubt blast Qtrax over this, it's Apple's choice not to support any DRM other than their own or license FairPlay to third parties.

Although at least one court (in France) has previously ruled that online music wasn't a big enough industry to count as an "essential serice," which would require Apple to allow other companies to license FairPlay, it would be curious to see if the same ruling would result after another 2+ years of declining CD sales and the booming online music industry.

Today's launch was scheduled to coincide with a press conference to be held at the Midem music industry conference, being held in France.


Correction: According to the Associated Press, the version for the Mac and iPod support will go hand in hand.

"We've had a technical breakthrough which enables us to put songs on an iPod without any interference from FairPlay," said Allan Klepfisz, Qtrax's president and chief executive.

He also mentioned that "Apple has nothing to do with it."

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11 user comments

127.1.2008 11:08
banned4Lf
Inactive

Where the Hell is this site? Went to check out how lame and generic and ad-infested it is and it's nowhere to be found. Apparently it's expected to be, and IS a flop before it has even had a chance to take off...............................Failure at its finest people!

227.1.2008 11:50

I personally use spiral frog. If this has as many tunes as it claims I will be jumping into their world. Spiral's selection is very small when it comes to good music I like. I would say this is the site, but is has the coming soon phrase. http://www.qtraxmax.com/

327.1.2008 11:55

Originally posted by banned4Lf:
Where the Hell is this site? Went to check out how lame and generic and ad-infested it is and it's nowhere to be found. Apparently it's expected to be, and IS a flop before it has even had a chance to take off...............................Failure at its finest people!

The site is there. However, it appears to be so busy that no it's nearly impossible to load. You won't find the ads there, though, because those will be found in the P2P client, which unfortunately wasn't there the last time I got it to load (about 3AM today).

As for the site, it's www.qtrax.com.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Jan 2008 @ 12:32

427.1.2008 12:02
ken9771
Inactive

I found info through whois.net, then went to
the following which has info on their service.

http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=101501

527.1.2008 12:34

Well, so far I'm not impressed. By the time they got the download available the site was already so swamped as to be unusable, and now there's a notice on the company's home page saying

Originally posted by Qtrax Web Page:

Due to overwhelming demand, Qtrax.com is currently unavailable. Please check back in 24 hours to download the first, free, and legal P2P music application. Thank you for your understanding.

627.1.2008 13:26

"At launch Qtrax will provide fans with free, advertising-funded access to high-quality, high-fidelity digital music files, as well as the option to subscribe to a premium version of the service or to purchase music tracks and albums on an a la carte basis.

Qtrax will offer two tiers of service: the first is a free, advertising-supported tier designed to work with and filter copyrighted content from existing peer-to-peer networks. The second tier is a premium subscription service which will require a monthly fee. The two-tiered business model is intended to attract a broad base of consumers to try out the service, and then graduate those consumers to purchase music permanently or subscribe.

In the ad-supported, free tier, users will be able to search the network for specific tracks, and those tracks registered with Qtrax will be made available for download in Qtrax's proprietary ".mpq" file format. Users will then be able to play the downloaded .mpq file in full-fidelity sound quality for a pre-defined number of times. Each time a consumer plays a track, the Qtrax player will also offer fans click-to-buy purchase options, as well as the opportunity to upgrade to a premium subscription service for a flat monthly fee."

I may be reading it wrong but the above qoute reads to me like you must use their software, you can't burn the downloaded tracks to disc and it will only allow you to play the downloads "a set number of times" before trying to get money out of you in one way or another. That hardly sounds free to me.

The music industry may have moved a little to get to where we are right now but they have hardly given in to free music for all with this.

Using my PC to play music all the time is no use to me. Using the other audio systems I have such as home theatre and my separates system in the room I am actually in makes much more sense but I can't do that if I can't burn it to CD or DVD. Nor can I take it in the car as I have a CD player in there, not my PC.

Portable devices, MP3 players and iPod do not interest me one bit especially if you don't own the music you buy to do what you wish with it.

I wonder also what the actual quality level is of the free downloads as "full fidelity" as quoted in the article should mean full uncompressed quality as with a CD purchased from a store. I bet it isn't!

727.1.2008 16:40

just download the songs then record them with audacity

827.1.2008 18:58

Originally posted by gamelover:
Qtrax will offer two tiers of service: the first is a free, advertising-supported tier designed to work with and filter copyrighted content from existing peer-to-peer networks. The second tier is a premium subscription service which will require a monthly fee. The two-tiered business model is intended to attract a broad base of consumers to try out the service, and then graduate those consumers to purchase music permanently or subscribe.

In the ad-supported, free tier, users will be able to search the network for specific tracks, and those tracks registered with Qtrax will be made available for download in Qtrax's proprietary ".mpq" file format. Users will then be able to play the downloaded .mpq file in full-fidelity sound quality for a pre-defined number of times. Each time a consumer plays a track, the Qtrax player will also offer fans click-to-buy purchase options, as well as the opportunity to upgrade to a premium subscription service for a flat monthly fee."

I may be reading it wrong but the above qoute reads to me like you must use their software, you can't burn the downloaded tracks to disc and it will only allow you to play the downloads "a set number of times" before trying to get money out of you in one way or another. That hardly sounds free to me.

That quote is from 2006, and as far as I can tell that's not the model they're using now. I take that as a sign that they want to compete with SpiralFrog. However, if anyone has something that shows that to be their current plan we certainly want to have accurate information.
Quote:
I wonder also what the actual quality level is of the free downloads as "full fidelity" as quoted in the article should mean full uncompressed quality as with a CD purchased from a store. I bet it isn't!

I wouldn't take that bet. In fact I'd be surprised if it's better than 128kbps MP3, or maybe 192kbps at best.

928.1.2008 11:27
banned4Lf
Inactive

Quote:
Originally posted by banned4Lf:
Where the Hell is this site? Went to check out how lame and generic and ad-infested it is and it's nowhere to be found. Apparently it's expected to be, and IS a flop before it has even had a chance to take off...............................Failure at its finest people!

The site is there. However, it appears to be so busy that no it's nearly impossible to load. You won't find the ads there, though, because those will be found in the P2P client, which unfortunately wasn't there the last time I got it to load (about 3AM today).

As for the site, it's www.qtrax.com.

Thanks for the verification and clarification..........I checked out over the weekend fairly late at night to no avail. Just said "connecting" at bottom left of browser. Good to know about the ads part so I'll give a look-see and I pretty much was thinking as you stated about ads in the client. Couldn't pay me to download and install that...........too risky. I work diligently to keep my computer clean..........and 4 years later, no spyware (cookies from Yahoo etc, excluded), malware or viruses.

1028.1.2008 11:33
banned4Lf
Inactive

Originally posted by ken9771:
I found info through whois.net, then went to
the following which has info on their service.

http://www.primenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=101501




UUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Proprietary .Mpq format"???

What the Hell is that ?1?1?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

"Pre-defined number of times" (playability) ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

What the Hell is that ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?


Yoooooo-Hooooooo........Qtraaaaaaaaax, can you say "Ummmmmmm NO!"
Can you also say "BitTorrent"?

1119.2.2008 21:49

I was ok with this article until i reach the dreaded drm part and it lost my vote.

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