Qtrax.com was announced in a blaze of publicity at the Midem Music Industry Conference in Cannes earlier this year. The service claimed to let users tap into file-sharing networks and search for music, which could then be stored indefinitely on PCs and transferred to music players. The catch: all downloads would feature DRM.
- Legally download DRM-free MP3s
- Choose from 30 million tracks
Qtrax’s founder claimed it had 30 million tracks and would use revenue from advertising to pay licensing fees to the four biggest record labels – EMI, Universal, Sony BMG and Warner – which, according to Qtrax, had given their full backing.
However, on 28 January, when the service was due to launch, it became apparent that all was not well. The four labels denied they had any part in or support for the service. Then it transpired that it was impossible to download the software from the website.
Qtrax’s founders did a swift U-turn and claimed that they hadn’t misled fans, but the “ink hadn’t dried” on some of the deals. Whether this revolutionary service will ever go live – and if so, when – remains to be seen.