Qtrax offer free music … oh maybe not

Not much tech news seems to breach the mighty Jericho-like walls of BBC News 24 however the announcement that company was within days of launching a service that would offer unlimited music downloads free-of-charge was one that did.

“Whats the catch?” everyone asked.

Qtrax touted a no-DRM service supported by ads. They even boasted they had found a way around the Apple FairPlay DRM system, all with the consent of the labels.

Today the labels responded with a fairly firm “No Dice”.

Possible reasons for this:

1) Qtrax don’t have a legal department – unlikely
2) Someone high up in the corporate music machine got wind of it and put the kibosh on the deal – possible
3) The whole thing is a publicity stunt – now we’re getting somewhere

Looking more closely into the actual Qtrax app itself, all it appears to be is a laughably simple modification of Songbird, a xulrunner-based mozilla app that has Web 2.0 written all over it. I ran screaming from the website a few months back when I couldn’t get past the phrase “mash-up” which fills me with horror and a nasty sense of dotcom-bubble-pre-millenium-tension.

For a laugh I tried to run it in Wine which sort of didn’t work.


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