Free service promises over 25 million iPod-compatible tracks

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A once controversial peer-to-peer file sharing service said this week it is relaunching with the blessing of the recording industry under an ad-supported model that will see its vast music catalog made available as free downloads, even for Apple iPod owners.



New York-based Qtrax, which now bills itself as the "World's First Free and Legal P2P Music Service," promises to serve up between 25 million and 30 million copyrighted tracks to users over its file sharing network, dwarfing the the number of song downloads offered by rival services such as Apple's iTunes.



Qtrax claims to have struck a deal with all the major record labels whereby downloads will be tabulated and artists later compensated through advertising revenues garnered by the service. For end users, the service will be free, allowing unlimited music downloads that come wrapped in digital rights management (DRM) software to prevent their duplication.



Although the service launched on Monday without iPod support, Qtrax claims to have devised a way for its tracks to work on the Apple players, which have thus far been restricted to compatibility with DRM-free tracks of those wrapped in Apple's proprietary FairPlay wrapper.



"We've had a technical breakthrough which enables us to put songs on an iPod without any interference from FairPlay," Allan Klepfisz, Qtrax's president and chief executive, told the Associated Press. Although the exec declined to give specifics on how Qtrax will make its audio files compatible with Apple devices, he noted that "Apple has nothing to do with it."



Qtrax says iPod compatibility could arrive as early as March. It's unclear, however, whether Apple will attempt to circumvent Qtrax compatibility in order to maintain the strong bond between the iTunes Store and its digital media player line.



Update



Following Qtrax's announcement overnight, at least one of the major record labels disputes that they had reached an agreement with the company to offer their tracks through the new service.



"Warner Music Group has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax's recently announced service," Warner, the No. 3 music company, said in a statement.



For its part, Qtrax responded by saying, "We are in discussion with Warner Music Group to ensure that the service is licensed and we hope to reach an agreement shortly."



Meanwhile, a source close to Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, told Reuters it also did not have a deal with Qtrax but discussions were continuing.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,721member
    It amazes me how many times companies will insist on going back to DRM as a solution...
  • Reply 2 of 49
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    article: A once controversial peer-to-peer file sharing service



    How can it be controversial if it's an unknown? The front page article summary seems to suggest that it's an unknown given that its name is not mentioned.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    It amazes me how many times companies will insist on going back to DRM as a solution...



    I think it's a necessity for the subscription/rental services. Sell to keep, not so much.



    Besides, it's not "going back" if you've never left it.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    I'll go and get myself 100TB (assuming an average of 4mb per song) of hd space and set the whole lot downloading, on my 8mbps connection that should only take give or take 190 years to download assuming I get the maximum speed... which i dont, so make it 500 years!
  • Reply 4 of 49
    What is this amazing new technology that allows them to put their songs on your ipod? Um, nothing? You can put MP3's and non DRM'd AAC files on you ipod with ease, contrary to what the article says, there's no need for a fairplay wrapper.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    It's funny how this Qtrax is not riding the coat tails of Apple, yet they use Myriad, Apple's primary typeface. What a bunch of wankers.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntercr View Post


    What is this amazing new technology that allows them to put their songs on your ipod? Um, nothing? You can put MP3's and non DRM'd AAC files on you ipod with ease, contrary to what the article says, there's no need for a fairplay wrapper.



    what theyre saying is that there is a problem in coding files WITH DRM and putting them on an iPod.



    On anothe rnote, as a musician who supports free music, I am really excited about this.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by huntercr View Post


    What is this amazing new technology that allows them to put their songs on your ipod? Um, nothing? You can put MP3's and non DRM'd AAC files on you ipod with ease, contrary to what the article says, there's no need for a fairplay wrapper.



    The AP article got that detail right, the AI article got it wrong, it seems the AI writer was not very meticulous with the details.



    Apparently Qtrax has given the impression that they have full embrace of the industry, all the major labels. Warner, Universal and EMI deny that they have a deal, Qtrax responds that two of them are almost signed. It sounds like they announced too early. The fourth major label didn't respond yet.



    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Gad...ory?id=4196546
  • Reply 8 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Any ideas how they might achieve DRM protection but still be able to play in on an iPod, and presumably iTunes, without Apple's assistance?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shawnathan View Post


    It's funny how this Qtrax is not riding the coat tails of Apple, yet they use Myriad, Apple's primary typeface. What a bunch of wankers.



    Since when does a similar typeface make one a wanker?
  • Reply 9 of 49
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    My prediction is that Steve Jobs will put out an iTunes update and will squash it's compatibility. This would directly cut into iTunes music sales- not that Apple is make any money off the music it sells, mind you.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    Why would Apple try and prevent this? It's not like they are messing with Fairplay like the others were.



    But it makes me wonder, if it's not fairplay, then what's to stop me from sticking it on my own iPod?
  • Reply 11 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    My prediction is that Steve Jobs will put out an iTunes update and will squash it's compatibility. This would directly cut into iTunes music sales- not that Apple is make any money off the music it sells, mind you.



    That would be anti-competitive if it could be proven that Apple purposely prevented it.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    buckbuck Posts: 293member
    Um. What "software" would that be? Certainly they cannot wrap the music in mp3... or can they? So it's either AAC or WMV, and given the latter, how exactly are Macs (not iPods) going to handle those?
  • Reply 13 of 49
    phizzphizz Posts: 142member
    I'm not sure how well this would work - a huge requirement for P2P to be successful is lots of seeders (i.e. users who upload). If I downloaded a bunch of tracks, but had to put up with DRM, got a ton of advertisements shoved in my face in the process, and knew the record companies were still making profit, why would I feel the obligation l to take a connection speed hit and pay for upload bandwidth??
  • Reply 14 of 49
    Why are so many of you being so negative about this? Is it because, for the first time, Apple might have some serious competition on their hands?



    DRM has been an issue but only with music we've had to pay for. In this scenario, if you have a track on your computer that you want access to on another computer, just download it again.. for free.



    This sounds like a great idea to me. I would happily put up with a few ads for what is essentially free music that doesn't expire and works on an iPod.



    The AI article also suggests Apple may attempt to circumvent Qtrax compatibility in order to maintain the iTMS's strong lead but this is ridiculous. Is Apple giving up MP3 compatibility so that Amazon's tracks don't work on iPods? Obviously not...
  • Reply 15 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Buck View Post


    Um. What "software" would that be? Certainly they cannot wrap the music in mp3... or can they? So it's either AAC or WMV, and given the latter, how exactly are Macs (not iPods) going to handle those?



    iTunes converts WMA (they wouldn't use WMV) into aac or mp3, so it wouldn't be an issue.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by StuBeck View Post


    iTunes converts WMA (they wouldn't use WMV) into aac or mp3, so it wouldn't be an issue.



    Only the Windows version of itunes does that.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daniel84 View Post


    Why are so many of you being so negative about this? Is it because, for the first time, Apple might have some serious competition on their hands?



    DRM has been an issue but only with music we've had to pay for. In this scenario, if you have a track on your computer that you want access to on another computer, just download it again.. for free.



    This sounds like a great idea to me. I would happily put up with a few ads for what is essentially free music that doesn't expire and works on an iPod.



    The AI article also suggests Apple may attempt to circumvent Qtrax compatibility in order to maintain the iTMS's strong lead but this is ridiculous. Is Apple giving up MP3 compatibility so that Amazon's tracks don't work on iPods? Obviously not...



    1) Apple had MP3 capabiities ont he iPod since day one. The only way to prevent MP3 would be to remove it. The speculation as to Apple preventing this new file file type is only warranted if Qtrax has to introduce software that alters iPod/iTunes. But that doesn't seem likely.



    2) Apple is still bested by CD sales and Amazon is certainly serious competition. They have an entire catalog of DRM-free music and at twice the bitrate and slightly cheaper than iTS DRMed audio. Their download app for OS X imports audio into iTunes and is very simple to use. The SuperBowl should make Amazon much more popular.



    3) Who would people use a P2P service with DRM in lieu of a P2P service without DRM? Except for legality sake, It doesn't make sense.



    4) I still don't see how a non-FairPlay DRMed track will play on iPod/iTunes without Apple's assistance.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    4) I still don't see how a non-FairPlay DRMed track will play on iPod/iTunes without Apple's assistance.



    If you recall, RealNetworks was able to reverse-engineer Fairplay with its "Harmony" technology. This allowed AAC tracks purchased from the RealPlayer Music Store to transfer to the iPod without any loss of quality. Those tracks have always been 192Kbps, so that was a distinct advantage at the time. I suspect Qtrax will be doing something similar.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    If you recall, RealNetworks was able to reverse-engineer Fairplay with its "Harmony" technology. This allowed AAC tracks purchased from the RealPlayer Music Store to transfer to the iPod without any loss of quality. Those tracks have always been 192Kbps, so that was a distinct advantage at the time. I suspect Qtrax will be doing something similar.



    Interesting! And this would keep them from being copied or stripped from their DRM, too?



    edit: Can't Apple just introduce a new version of FairPlay that defeats any reverse engineering and protect its DRM without provoking any anti-trust lawyers from their slumber?
  • Reply 20 of 49
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daniel84 View Post


    Why are so many of you being so negative about this? Is it because, for the first time, Apple might have some serious competition on their hands?



    I don't think this is real competition - Amazon may be, but not this.



    I can see it now - in the middle of side 2 of Abbey Road, after "Mr. Mustard" plays, you get a hot dog commercial. People will love it.
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