Qtrax to offer 25 million songs for free

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

New York (NY) – iTunes better look out because a new music service will soon offer millions of songs for free.  New York-based Qtrax is launching a beta application that will aggregate up to 25 million songs from peer-to-peer networks.  Of course the old saying of, “there is no free lunch”, applies here and users will have to endure ads to listen to their songs.

The service works by centralizing music from P2P sites and then reoffering the songs with some extra DRM attached.  Songs are downloaded to the listener’s computer, but they can only be played back inside of the Qtrax ad-supported player.  The player expands to fill the user’s screen, but don’t fret because you can still surf the web with a Mozilla-based browser inside of the player.

For those of you old enough to remember the dot-bomb days, think of the Qtrax player as a music version of the much loathed NetZero web browser.   While a full-screen player plastered with ads will probably turn off many people, we believe this could bring new life to your unwanted laptops and desktops.  Just download and play the songs on the spare computer while you continue working on your primary machine.

The company promises to share ad revenue with the song owners and claims that deals have been made with the four major record labels: Universal Music, Sony-BMG, Warner Music Group and EMI.  Interestingly enough, those labels haven’t yet confirmed any plans.

According to the Qtrax website, a PC beta program will be available at midnight Eastern Standard Time.