Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chinese site to steer users to legit music source

Associated Press reports that China's largest search engine will sends users to a music that plans to offer free song downloads. The free service, Qtrax, has licensing deals with all the major recording companies and their publishing units. The company plans to fund its royalty payments to artists and the music industry through advertising. Qtrax launches Thursday in Australia and New Zealand, which amounts to a world debut after several aborted launches and a 90-day U.S. preview in April. Under the deal, users of some entertainment and music pages operated by China's leading search engine,, will see a button allowing a download from Qtrax when they search for a song or artist that is in Qtrax's catalog. Overall, it will be very interesting to see how well its business model will work. Qtrax must pay royalties each time a song is played, but it gets revenue only on advertisement shown when a user is downloading a song or transferring it to a portable media player. The company has resisted putting audio ads in the song files themselves. Recently, Hulu announced that some of their content is going to cost money which raises the question of how effective online advertisement is when it comes to offering free services? On the other hand, I do believe this service is the best solution to slow down piracy use. Personally, I think the best business model for a free music services is to continually engage users even through interactive mediums.

-Ryan Dolan

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