Feel Free to Download 25 Million Songs - Legally

After a decade fighting to stop illegal file-sharing, the music industry will give fans today what they have always wanted: an unlimited supply of free and legal songs. With CD sales in free fall and legal downloads yet to fill the gap, the music industry has reluctantly embraced the file-sharing technology that threatened to destroy it. Qtrax, a digital service announced today, promises a catalogue of more than 25 million songs that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks. The service has been endorsed by the very same record companies - including EMI, Universal Music and Warner Music – that have chased file-sharers through the courts in a doomed attempt to prevent piracy. The gamble is that fans will put up with a limited amount of advertising around the Qtrax website’s jukebox in return for authorised use of almost every song available. The service will use the “peer-to-peer” network, which contains not just hit songs but rarities and live tracks from the world’s leading artists.

Nor is a lack of compatibility with the iPod player expected to put fans off. Apple is unlikely to allow tracks downloaded from its rival to be compatible with iPods, but, while the iPod is the most popular music player, it has not succeeded in dominating the market: sales of the iPod account for 50 million out of 130 million total digital player sales. Qtrax has also spoken of an “iPod solution”, to be announced in April. Qtrax files contain Digital Rights Management software, allowing the company to see how many times a song has been downloaded and played. Artists, record companies and publishers will be paid in proportion to the popularity of their music, while also taking a cut of advertising revenues. The Qtrax team, which spent five years working on the system, promised a “game-changing” intervention in the declining recorded music market when the service was presented at the Midem music industry convention in Cannes.

View: Full Story @ The Times Online

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(chconline said @ #12)
What bit rate?
Good question! Just making the music cheap (or free in this case) and without DRM is useless if they can't offer a decent bit rate. That was one of the many reasons for OiNKs popularity. You could get the music in a range of qualitys and the disgusting 128kb/s that services like Napster offer was banned simply because of it sounds ****!

Edit: my bad, it seems Napster has now upped the bit rate to 192kb/s.. still not as high as I'd like and if I was planning on burning it to CD then I'd be wanting some FLAC in case I ever wanted to rip it again in the future.

According to the site www.qtrax.com the player will be available at midnight.
How about you slag it off after you have tried it out? :P

(ThomMcK said @ #13)
According to the site www.qtrax.com the player will be available at midnight.
How about you slag it off after you have tried it out? :P

If the only place I can play the music at is on my system only then it's no use to me...

Holy facts-wrong Batman!

"Sales of the iPod account for 50 million out of 130 million total digital player sales"

Are they serious? Apple's sold over 130 million iPods. If anything, iPods account for 130 million out of 150 million digital player sales.


Music fans around the world faced confusion today as it was announced they would be able to download unlimited, free songs without breaking the law.

A revamped online file-sharing service had vowed to offer a catalogue of 30million free songs that are compatible with iPods, but record labels have denied they had granted permission to share the songs.

Qtrax, which makes its debut today, is the latest online music venture counting on the lure of free songs to draw in music fans.

The key to their revolutionary venture was thought to be advertising, which they hope will pay the bills, namely record company licensing fees.

The New York-based service was among several peer-to-peer file-sharing applications that emerged following the shutdown of Napster, the pioneer service that enabled millions to illegally copy songs stored in other computers.

But Warner Music said it had not authorised the use of its tracks by Qtrax - and later Universal Music Group and EMI followed suit, saying they did not have licensing deals with Qtrax and discussions were continuing.

Justin Kazmark, a spokesman for New York-based Qtrax, has declined to comment.

too good to be true... i mean despite all the drm-stuff and the unknown bitrate, it was supposed to be 25 MILLION FREE SONGS, amazing, just download one or two songs off an album, you like it, you buy it, you dont like it, you go on downloading the free stuff just to have it, dont know...

a pity its not true, apparently. wouldve been a really nice source to find some new music or something...

The problem with DRM is it locks a format to one system and kills the openess of a format for people to use.

PlaysForSure. Windows wma format.
iTunes AAC only plays on ipod and itunes.

DRM is anti-consumer cause the point of buying things is you can do what you want with it cause it's your hard earned money but DRM is basically the recording/phonographic industry saying "yea, you can give us tons of money but you can only loan our material and use it a specific way or just tough luck"

There's no way DRM good or can be lived with, it's in no way feesible in this modern world it's not the future of music it's not the future of anything it's the stranglehold on peoples freedom to do what they wish and how they wish to go about doing it. DRM is the spawn of a capitalistic burden money hungry corporate jacket wearing tosser, end of story.

If you bought a car and could only drive down streets and roads, not avenues, crests, drives, etc you'd not be happy would you and it would cause massive protest. music is no different.

iTunes AAC only plays on ipod and itunes.

Just a minor nitpick but AAC is an open standard and has nothing to do with Apple. The versions locked to iTunes have Apple's proprietary DRM added on top of the AAC. These files have the extension of m4p instead of m4a, but if I remember correctly Apple has dropped DRM from their iTunes store.

(Skyfrog said @ #23.1)
Apple has dropped DRM from their iTunes store.
Not quite. They are offering DRM free tracks where they can and are allowed to, but a large majority of the content still appears to be DRM'd. Over time it may become more DRM heavy but of the 10 or so tracks I download with my 1st $20 voucher just last week only one or two were DRM free (and I was trying to get DRM free versions where I could)

if anyone care QTRAX is actually Songbird which is already free. and easy to download. when you install qtrax the EULA states that its songbird.

according to the site, it contains no adware, spyware or anything, but when i first launched the client (songbird customized version for qtrax) it displayed a big banner in the upper center of the windows... wtf?

anyway, it can't access anything right now, maybe because of massive queries to their servers. will try it gain tomorrow and see what is like...

When are advertisements,which probably help to pay for this, considered adware? It doesn't actually make ads pop up randomly like adware does.

When are advertisements,which probably help to pay for this, considered adware?

Isn't that the very definition of adware? Any program that is ad supported.

uh yeah. sounds like a ploy to catch every single person who utilizes "peer-to-peer" downloading....

i'm staying away...

Yeah site is all screwed up and has been for hours...

Loving the "Oracle Application Server" home page and very funny that it tells you what their admin user name is. hehe part of the hacking job is done for ya.. haha

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