Who needs torrents?
From today, feel free to download another 25 million songs – legally
After a decade fighting to stop illegal file-sharing, the music industry will give fans today what they have always wanted: an unlimited supply of free and legal songs.
With CD sales in free fall and legal downloads yet to fill the gap, the music industry has reluctantly embraced the file-sharing technology that threatened to destroy it. Qtrax, a digital service announced today, promises a catalogue of more than 25 million songs that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks.
Well, so much for all of those lawsuits, right? How does something like this happen so fast? Like, overnight. With no warning?
Seriously. What’s the catch? Where’s the other shoe? Why hasn’t it dropped yet?
EDIT: Well, I guess there was a snag. Whoops.
From ABC News:
Qtrax touted in a press release Sunday morning that it was the first Internet file-swapping service to be “fully embraced by the music industry,” and boasted it would carry up to 30 million tracks from “all the major labels.”
New York-based Warner Music undermined that claim, declaring in a statement that it “has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service.”
Universal Music Group and EMI Group PLC later confirmed they did not have licensing deals in place with Qtrax, noting discussions were still ongoing. A call to Sony BMG Music Entertainment was not immediately returned.
Music services such as Qtrax must secure licensing agreements from the record companies, which own the rights to master recordings, and music publishers, which control the rights to song compositions. Each of the major recording companies also operates music publishing units.
Allan Klepfisz, Qtrax’s president and chief executive, acknowledged Sunday that the deal with Warner Music had not been signed, but said he expects to reach an agreement on terms “shortly.”
Still, once everyone is on board, it seems pretty great, right? Aside from a lack of sound quality to audiophiles (because if you think these are going to be CD quality, you’re drunk) everything seems pretty utopian.
For now. Details as they come, I suppose. Let’s all just sit back and enjoy the high that comes with screwing the record companies.
What’s the cost? The nearly always brilliant Star Tribune has the answer: the death of the CD (free registration required).
From the Trib:
R.I.P. the CD 1982-2007
OBITUARY The darling of music lovers for a quarter century, the compact disc finally goes the way of the cassette and 8-track.
Once praised for its clear, crisp audio quality but panned for its susceptibility to scratches and smudges, the compact disc passed away in 2007 after a quick but painful illness. It was 25 years old.
The final cause of death has not been determined, but friends and fans blamed digital-download sites such as iTunes and illegal file-sharing among rich kids. In addition, doctors pointed to the big record companies and mega-selling artists who put out CDs in recent years that featured only a few good songs and lots of filler.
Simon Cowell, who is also a suspect in a mass plot to ruin pop music, is being questioned by police.
The CD was preceded in death by its siblings, the cassette and 8-track tape. Its older cousin, the vinyl record, has been hanging on for two decades, with life support from nerdy audiophiles.