Monday, January 28, 2008

MIDEM 2008: The other side of the Trax

So, what happened to QTrax, then?

Someone's posted a link in the comments to one of our earlier stories to an unofficial website which is linking through to an .exe which it claims is the official download of the service - but, frankly, you'd have to be so trusting to even try such a link as to be incapable of functioning in the real world.

The official site, meanwhile, is still promising the download will go live at midnight last night, New York time, while the media is catching on. The Times reports the company being in a "humiliating climbdown":

Questioned by The Times in Cannes today, Alan Klepfisz, Qtrax's flamboyant chief executive, insisted that he had not misled the industry or music fans.

"We are not idiots," he said."We wouldn’t have launched the service in front of the whole music industry unless we had secured its backing. We feel we have been unfairly crucified because a competitor tried to damage us. Everyone is very upset."

But has QTrax been lying about having the majors onboard? Opinion is split: the labels deny they've signed anything; QTrax claims they have.

Sort-of:
"We do have industry agreements including the major labels. Even today we are working on more deals," Mr Klepfisz said. He added that although "ink hadn't dried" on some of the deals, Qtrax still planned to deliver on its promises "within months."

So, last night they were launching with all four majors; now, it turns out, there might be some, um, negotiations still to take place.

The funny thing is, this isn't the first time QTrax has announced it's done deals with the big four. Back in June 2007, the New York Post was being told by the company a very similar story:
With a full complement of songs from the major labels as well as the esoteric live recordings and personal tracks stemming from users' own collections, Klepfisz estimates Qtrax will have access to between 20 million and 30 million copyrighted songs at launch in October.
[...]
That Qtrax has the support of the four major record labels - EMI, SonyBMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group - and all of their respective publishing divisions underscores the industry's increasing realization that peer-to-peer services can't be sued out of existence and instead should be embraced as a potentially lucrative new source of revenue.

So, half a year ago they were claiming to have all the big labels on board. That ink's taking a bloody long time to dry, isn't it?

They'd also been promising a September launch, too. Round about the time they took on SpiralFrog executives, last April.

[Part of MIDEM 2008]