UPDATE: Sony/BMG and Warner Music Group have publicly denied that they have a deal with a Qtrax and a source close to Universal has indicated that they also do not have a deal with Qtrax. The service has not launched as of yet (01/28). [Reuters/NYTimes]
It appears that upstart Qtrax‘s attempt to bring back old skool Napster like file sharing with ads has hit a few snags. The beta release of Qtrax should be available at 3am EST, Monday January 28.
LOS ANGELES (AP) “” A revamped online file-sharing service that promised to offer unlimited, free music downloads from all the major record labels hit an apparent snag Sunday after one denied it had given the service permission.
Qtrax touted in a press release Sunday morning that it was the first Internet file-swapping service to be “fully embraced by the music industry,” and boasted it would carry up to 30 million tracks from “all the major labels.”
New York-based Warner Music undermined that claim, declared in a statement that it “has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service.”
Universal Music Group and EMI Group PLC later confirmed they did not have licensing deals in place with Qtrax, noting discussions were still ongoing. A call to Sony BMG Music Entertainment was not immediately returned.
Qtrax had been scheduled to make its online debut on Monday, a day after its splashy coming-out party at the annual Midem music business conference in Cannes, France.
The company said it latest version of the service still lets users tap into file-sharing networks to search for music. Downloads however come with copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM, to prevent users from burning copies to a CD and calculate how to divvy up advertising sales with labels.
Qtrax downloads can be stored indefinitely on PCs and transferred onto portable music players, however.
The company also promises that its music downloads will be playable on Apple Inc.’s iPods and Macintosh computers until April 15. That’s unusual, as iPods only playback unrestricted MP3s files or tracks with Apple’s proprietary version of DRM, dubbed FairPlay. [AP]