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Universal shows green light to QTrax's free legal music downloads

Qtrax has finally signed the second major record company to its free legal file-sharing website; Universal Music is said to have bargained hard and secured a higher royalty rate per download than what iTunes offered.

The New York based company, which originally started life as a Napster Clone in 2002, had an embarrassing start after promising that 25 million tracks would be available for download at launch and then having to retract itself after record companies said that they haven't signed to anything.

QTrax's business model, like traditional radio, rests primarily on ad funded downloads and music streaming with secondary revenue coming from selling everything from videos, ringtons to concert tickets and videos.

The deal is restricted to North-America only it seems though and Qtrax is on track to be launched by September.

In April, QTrax convinced SonyBMG onboard by integrating a new feature whereby users had to pay after listening to a predefined number of songs.

Universal is the biggest record label and counts household names as U2, Kanye West and Mariah Carey amongst its artists.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.