Qtrax – Another D.O.A. Music Service

Jan 28th, 2008 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

QtraxThe net is abuzz with talk today about Qtrax, another service that promises free ad-supported music.

The Qtrax service offers to let you use an ad-supported program to search for and download DRM’d music that you can play on a PC and on some media players.

Unfortunately, it looks like Qtrax will be as dead on arrival as the rest of the music industry music download sites and iTunes-killers have been over the last few years.

Here’s why Qtrax is D.O.A.:

  • Qtrax solves a problem you probably don’t have – paying for music. The average iPod owner has spent about $20 bucks on music downloads. That’s not a problem worth fixing.
  • Qtrax forces you to watch ads – people generally hate ads and haven’t shown much interest in ad-supported software like Qtrax, as a result.
  • Qtrax requires a proprietary application that you have to install. You’ve probably got at least three or four media apps on your computer already, between Windows Media Player, Real Player and iTunes. Do you want to dink with downloading and patching and updating another app just to save a few bucks on music?
  • Qtrax is making promises it can’t deliver. They promise to offer music from the big four music labels, but at least three of the big four labels – Warner, EMI & Universal – haven’t agreed to let Qtrax distribute their music.
  • Qtrax’ music is DRM’d – DRM’d music is on the way out. Apple has been the only company to successfully establish an accepted DRM standard for digital music, and the music industry doesn’t want to have all their eggs in Apple’s basket. The industry’s strategy to control the music business now is to offer a limited number of partners, like Amazon, the ability to sell DRM-free MP3s.
  • Qtrax doesn’t work with iPods – this is the WTF? bullet point. Why is anyone excited about a digital music service that doesn’t work with iPods?
  • Qtrax is managed by the guys who ran Spiralfrog, the last free music service that bombed – remember Spiralfrog, the free music service that offered DRM’d tracks incompatible with most people’s media players? The company that went on to lose $3.4 million on revenue of about $20,000? The Qtrax press area hypes that former Spiralfrog executives joined Qtrax in April.
  • Qtrax is not Mac compatible – it might be compatible in March! Or….it might not be.

In other words…..Qtrax wants you to download software to watch ads to get DRM’d music that probably won’t work on your media player.

While some seem to think this is a recipe for success – we think it means that Qtrax is D.O.A.

Update: Ars Technica offers another skeptical take on the service: “I can’t see many of today’s P2P users opting for a “legal” service that sends them DRMed files, not when DRM-free music can be so easily obtained from the very same P2P network. The Zune-style approach of taking a Gnutella P2P song, wrapping it in DRM, and then enforcing a certain set of usage rules is a turn-off.”

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No Responses to “Qtrax – Another D.O.A. Music Service”

  1. […] Qtrax – Another D.O.A. Music ServicePodcasting News – Qtrax solves a problem you probably don t have – paying for music. The average iPod owner has spent about $20 bucks on music downloads. That s not a problem worth fixing. Qtrax forces you to watch ads – people hate ads and haven t shown much […]

  2. James Lewin says:

    Looks like other people are starting to see beyond the hype on Qtrax. Ars Technica is calling it vaporware.

  3. Jon says:

    The average IPOD user has bought $20 worth of music…that’s like 20 songs. 20 songs on an IPOD? That’s pathetic! True, they are probably listening to songs that they own on CD, ripped to MP3, but that just goes to show that people aren’t paying for downloads. If ads can pay for downloads, then I personally think people will do it.

    Most people probably don’t listen to radio or watch TV either, because who is going to put up with ads…wait a minute…

  4. Jacie says:

    actually, I have Qtrax. I thought at first that it would not work on my mp3 player. But all you need to do it open your My Music file, Windows Media Player and your set. Search a song on Qtrax, download it and when its done it shows up on your My Music file. Right click on the file you downloaded and chose Play with Windows Media Player. It then is synced to your mp3 player and Windows Media Player playlist.
    It sounds hard, but it very easy.

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