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Monday, 28 January 2008 06:38

Qtrax offers free legal music downloads

Written by David Stellmack

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Pay the bills using advertising


Another attempt to attract consumers to a new music series will launch starting Sunday, January 28th. Qtrax is hopeful that it will be able to attract music fans by the truckload with its new model of offering free and unlimited music downloads that are compatible with iPods, along with the legal authorization of the record companies.

The key to this new free and unlimited music download model is advertising. Qtrax hopes that free and unlimited music will get people to click and view product ads. The ad revenue, in turn, will be used to pay licensing fees charged by the record companies. Qtrax was originally a file sharing service that grew out of the Napster phase after Napster was shut down.

Qtrax downloads will be DRM-enabled to prevent users from burning CDs from the downloads. In addition, the music is tagged in such a way that it determines how the advertising revenue is split with the labels. While downloaded tracks cannot be burned to CDs, they can, of course, be downloaded into music players.

According to Qtrax, they will be offering a selection of 30 million songs when the service goes live on Sunday. At least at the start, the software will only be available for the PC, but a Mac version will follow in the March time frame. What is a bit strange about all of this is that the tracks are DRM-enabled and targeted at the iPod, which normally only plays unrestricted MP3 files and Apple’s DRM-enabled tracks using its “Fair Play” technology, and Apple has not been licensing this to other companies or music providers.

Some analysts have suggested that they expect Apple to take quick action to block any attempted use of its propriety technology or anything that might infringe on Apple patents. While it is not yet clear how Qtrax’s downloads are encoded, all eyes will be upon them as the flood gates open on Sunday.

Last modified on Monday, 28 January 2008 10:12

David Stellmack

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