Qtrax Suffering From Premature Elaboration
Here’s a savvy way to debut your new advertising-supported music service: announce that it will offer some 25 million songs from “all the major labels,” and then hope that those labels follow your lead. And if they don’t, just hang in there until they do.
Which is essentially what Qtrax, which claims to be the world’s first free and legal peer-to-peer music service, has done. Qtrax launched over the weekend with the alleged support of EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony. Today, all four labels are saying that while they have discussed relationships with Qtrax, they have not inked any formal agreements. “EMI Music had an initial agreement with QTrax, essentially a license designed to help them experiment with this ad-supported model,” an EMI spokeswoman told Wired. “QTrax didn’t launch the service during the period of the agreement–I think we initially did this two years ago. We’re now in talks with the company about a possible new deal, but as of today, they don’t have a license with EMI Music.”
A source inside Warner told the Times Online a similar story: “Warner Music Group has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service.”
Oh, but it will. Just you wait, says Qtrax CEO Alan Klepfisz, who admits that the “ink hadn’t dried” on some of the company’s claimed deals. “We are not idiots,” he told the Times Online.”We wouldn’t have launched the service in front of the whole music industry unless we had secured its backing. We feel we have been unfairly crucified because a competitor tried to damage us. Everyone is very upset. We do have industry agreements including the major labels. Even today we are working on more deals.”