The proposition with Qtrax is that you download their Mozilla-based music browser application, watch a bunch of ads to generate revenue for artists and record companies, and download from a library of 25 million music tracks. Interestingly, the President of Qtrax had this to say about iPod compatibility:
"We've had a technical breakthrough, which enables us to put songs on an iPod without and interference from Fairplay . . . and Apple has nothing to do with it."
Let me make a few assumptions/observations:
- Qtrax will be using some sort of digital rights management on the music. I wouldn't have necessarily jumped to this conclusion without the President's comment about Fairplay (Apple's proprietary DRM), but the fact that he mentioned a work-around leads me to believe that a DRM scheme is definitely in use.
- The Qtrax browser becomes your music listening application (i.e., tries to take the place of iTunes, etc.). This is a logical assumption based on the DRM assumption in number 1 above and make sense with the browsing functionality described in number 2 above.
- Qtrax is trying to control your connection to an artist. There's a lot of sites doing this, namely MusicToday, but the fact the Qtrax is displaying artist information, real-time updates, presumably links through to ticket sales, etc., it certainly appears that they're taking a run at being the connector between the fan and the artist.
The Mac version will be released on March 18th, so it's likely I'll probably forget to go into Parallels and download this to try it when it's released, but I'm sure there will be lots of coverage this evening.