Gigs & Bytes: A P2P Even Record Labels Can Love
Now a company called LTDnetwork Inc. says it has built a better P2P and it has the support of at least one major label as it moves closer to its launch date.
They’re calling it Qtrax, a two-tier service that will include file sharing as well as a subscription feature. However, Qtrax is far removed from the freewheeling file-trading services of old.
For one thing, the file-sharing aspect found in the first tier will be advertising-driven, rely on a master list of tracks approved for the service, and is designed to filter out non-approved copyrighted tracks from existing P2P networks. Once you find the track you want, Qtrax will deliver the songs to your desktop in the company’s proprietary “.mpq” file format. The tracks are good for a predetermined number of plays, and users will have click-to-buy purchase options if they want to keep the music playing.
The subscription service makes up the second tier. Like other subscription services, users will have unlimited access to the Qtrax library and will be able to move songs to Windows Media-compliant portable devices. Also like existing subscription services, those tracks will cease playing once a subscription is canceled.
Along with the subscription service, users will be able to purchase tracks on an à la carte basis.
Because it’s Windows Media-friendly, Qtrax will not be iPod compatible, thus locking out the most popular personal music player on the planet. However, Qtrax will offer various bells and whistles for users, including community building, and the chance for users to accrue points redeemable for additional plays or discounts on individual songs or subscription fees.
If all goes according to plan, Qtrax will enter a testing phase later this year.
EMI apparently likes Qtrax. The record company recently became the first major label to authorize its catalog for Qtrax use.
“Working with Qtrax is just one way EMI is actively supporting emerging business models, technologies and platforms to deliver music to fans,” said David Munns, Chairman and CEO of EMI Music North America. “Of course, we think that any ad-supported model should be offered in a way that maintains, or even enhances the value of music, and we believe Qtrax does that by offering a good consumer experience and significant up-selling opportunities.”