Legal P2P service fails to convince big Majors Music companies

Artists like Lily Allen and Bob Dylan are features on Qtrax, the latest legal P2P service that apparently offers up to 25 million songs online.

The service was supposed to be launched at midnight EST (i.e. early this morning) but nothing has showed up until now.

Furthermore, only SonyBMG seems to have signed to Qtrax's service now with the likes of EMI, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group still missing out.

So rather than delivering the promised 25 million songs, Qtrax might end up with a much lower song gamut.

Or not... Wired reports that Qtrax CEO Allan Klepfisz will maintain a grey list : "a vast body of stuff that's out there on P2P, where there are rights holders, but the rights holders themselves may not even know that a song is being downloaded frequently.... To the best of our ability, we identify the rights holder and pay them a percentage of the advertising revenue. "

In other terms, rather than not getting anything out of piracy, QTrax wants artists and record labels to benefit from song sharing via targeted ads - whether labels will tacitly approve Qtrax's move remains to be seen.

The other option might be that the big four come together and launch a Hulu.com like service. The start up relies on advertising to compensate artists for their work and plans to sell Tickets, artist merchandise and other related products to generate more revenue.

QTrax offers an integrated à-la-iTunes - only for Windows for now - using a customised version of Firefox (actually it uses Songbird) and works directly with the record labels and publishers.

Unlike iTunes, Songbird is an open source, Open Web project built on the Mozilla platform although the files will be protected by Microsoft's Windows Media subscription DRM.

Techcrunch writes that the songs won't be compatible with portable audio players like the iPod or the Zune and that they will need Songird to be played.

Rather than having a central hub, the solution is ingeniously based on Gnutella's P2P network, which means that the maintenance costs are minimal.