In the war against music piracy, fighting fire with fire by peddling stolen tracks may seem like a counterproductive move, but a service called Qtrax is trying to make it work to the benefit of music labels. In a launch party on Sunday, the company declared it would go live Monday with 25 million tracks available, more than any other legal service, but several record companies have denied their own involvement in the wake of the hype parade.
Qtrax attempts to harness the existing peer-to-peer networks used for trafficking illegal songs, and delivers the same pirated songs with ads, using advertiser revenue to reimburse record companies for the songs, and in a sense “legalizing” them.
While this model may hold some appeal for record companies, three of the “big four” music labels are denying their involvement in the project despite Qtrax’s announcement that they were on board. According to Cnet, Warner Music, EMI and Universal have all denied firm deals with Qtrax, while Sony has been quiet on the issue so far.
Qtrax CEO Allan Klepfisz spoke with News.com on the issue. "This is a tempest in a tea cup," Klepfisz told the site. "It’s true, some of the deals may not be locked in ink, but it’s also true that we had understandings. In some cases, we had endorsements."
Currently, Qtrax’s Web site is unavailable.