February 12, 2009

Qtrax Signs Agreement With All 4 Major Labels

Qtrax, the controversial Internet firm that intends to release the first free and legal music download Web site, said it has successfully signed up all of the four major record labels.

The privately held New York firm said it plans to relaunch next month with Qtrax version 1.0. The service was shutdown last year after its premature launch angered the major record labels with whom it hadn't yet signed licensing contracts, according to the AP.

"We had a somewhat embarrassing launch," said Qtrax Chief Executive Allan Klepfisz. "Now, we clearly do want to make a lot of noise."

Qtrax announced it reached an agreement with Warner Music Group Corp., the last of the big four record labels to sign digital licensing agreements with the service. Other labels include Universal Music Group, which signed in May, EMI Group Ltd. in June, and Sony Music Entertainment in December.

"Warner Music Group continues to be a pioneer in the digital music space and we are thrilled to be able to announce our global licensing deal with them," Klepfisz said in a statement.

Qtrax offers completely free peer-to-peer downloads with digital rights management software, which prevents copying. The service is supported completely by advertisements.

That technology also will count how many times each song is played, Klepfisz said. The artists and labels with the most-played songs will receive the largest amount of advertising money.

Lance Ford, a former Maxim magazine executive and Qtrax's chief marketing officer, told the AP that advertisements would be supported on the peer-to-peer application, but not on the music itself.

"What they're not going to do is get in the way of the process," he said. "That's where you start to lose users."

"Today's music industry is undergoing a dynamic transition which has us continually exploring fresh ways of delivering music to consumers," said Stephen Bryan, Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development, Warner Music Group "We look forward to leveraging platforms like Qtrax's to broaden the reach of our artists' music and provide consumers with a unique and legal music-discovery experience."


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