Qtrax - the legal, ad-supported free music
download site - will begin its worldwide launch in October, starting with the Asia-Pacific region.
starters, it will operate in China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan,
Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
The official date is Oct. 29, a Thursday. By year's end, it will
officially launch in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom,
though it already has been available as a 1.0 "preview" download
in the U.S.
It appears to be available only for Windows users
who have Windows Media Player 11, Microsoft .Net 2.0 and DRM security update.Qtrax was announced last year
and has deals with all the major music
companies - EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, TVT
Records and Universal Music Group, among others. After downloading the
software, users can play any of the songs in the catalog that they want
and play those songs as often as they want, but only within the Qtrax
client. That's why they have to be used within Windows Media Player -
they use Microsoft's digital rights management technology.
got the OK from the companies because it's supported by advertising,
and is sharing revenue, naturally, with the "artists and rights
holders" (i.e., the music labels). The important part is that it's
legal, and users can play the songs as often as they want through Qtrax
without fear of the RIAA. The first time you download a song from the
service, there's a lag of a few seconds for "authentication," but once
it's downloaded, users should be able to play songs at will, without
Users will be able to share music, though how, exactly, that will work
is a bit unclear. According to the website, you can create a playlist
of tracks and then e-mail that playlist to your friends.
the first target for the global rollout, company officials said,
because of the intense Internet use there. Qtrax President and CEO
Allan Klepfisz said Internet users grew by 474.9 percent between 2000
and 2008 (280.7 percent in the rest of the world) and 83.7 percent of
users in China download music (in the U.S., that figure is 40 percent). Qtrax is based in New York City and is a
subsidiary of Brilliant Technologies Corporation, a publicly traded technology holding company.