Ad-funded peer-to-peer download service launches

The world’s first legal peer-to-peer download service has launched with the backing of the four major record labels, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, EMI and Warner Music Group. Qtrax launched in nine countries, including the UK, yesterday.

The ad-funded service will go up against the might of Apple iTunes, which dominates the paid-for music download market. The service offers the user the chance to download tracks for free in exchange for viewing commercials.

The service, which is a subsidary of US technology company Brilliant Technologies, also has deals with several independent labels and claims to have a catalogue of more than 25 million tracks. iTunes has up to 6 million tracks available for download.

Qtrax says that downloads from the site will work with iPods.

The launch had received a positive reaction from analysts. James Bates, a director of the media and entertainment division at Deloitte, says: “If, as Qtrax claim, the downloads will work on iPods, then the service could have a chance of threatening Apple’s position as the only truly dominant player in the online music market.”

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