The high-profile launch of an ad-funded music website that claimed it could offer millions of free downloads has been blown off course after it emerged that it had not agreed deals with major record labels.
Qtrax, which was unveiled this week at a music industry conference in Cannes, claimed it had licensing deals with a host of record labels that would allow it to offer free music to customers if they agreed to view ads.
It was claimed that the service had a library of more than 25 million songs, four times as many as iTunes, and the service was touted by some as the saviour of the struggling record industry as it would counter illegal file sharing.
However, several hours after its launch music was not available on the site and the major labels, including Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI, denied that deals were in place.
EMI has confirmed that it does not have an agreement with Qtrax, but says it is in talks with the site over licensing its songs. The label adds that it had previously signed licensing agreement with Qtrax, but this expired before the launch.
A Warner spokeswoman says: “Warner Music Group has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service.”
Sony BMG and Universal have also confirmed that they do not have deals with the site.