DigitalTunes
The Future of Music

Qtrax vs. AmazonMP3: DRM battle of 2008, Round 1

This may prove to be a interesting battle in 2008. Amazon MP3 continues to expand the availability outside the US of their .99 cent DRM-free MP3s at nice sounding 256 kbps encodes. In the other corner (poised for a relaunch tonight at 12 midnight EST) is Qtrax which promises free listening to millions of audio files. This Wired article provides several interesting details, but I am still unclear of exactly how Qtrax will work until the launch…I will have to report back after a few hours with the live site.

To be fair Amazon has a huge leg up in this battle, but the business model compariosn is a fascinating one.

So which model is the future? And which do you prefer…to own your music for a “small” per track fee? or listen for free in ad-sponsored, DRM heavy format?

Personally, I ‘d like to see the Amazon model proliferate but at a per song rate under .50 cents per track.

UPDATE: Two hours past go live time and download is unavailable!…Troubles??

UPDATE 2: Not so fast Qtrax, say some major labels.

UPDATE 3: Download is now available…but this message also appears on their download page…”We’re thrilled with the massive response we’ve received. To ensure the best user experience, we’re activating accounts in stages. In the meantime, enjoy all the functionalities of the Qtrax player like importing and playing your music and searching for artist-related content.  So all the hype looks like a “so what” for now….stay tuned…downloading now.

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