Free online music downloads?

January 28, 2008 4:36:13 PM PST
If you have an iPod or mp3 player, or know someone who just likes music, this next story could end up saving you money. A new website launched today that promises free music downloads, and it's supposed to be perfectly legal. The web site is called Qtrax and it was supposed to be up and running today, but snags have come up that could shut the whole thing down.

Anyone with an iPod or mp3 player can tell you "Freedom Song," and all the others, are not exactly free. When it comes to buying songs for portable players, people spend plenty of money.

Music lover Celena Flores said, "Actually (the player) was a gift, but I think it was probably like $200, because it was one of their limited edition ones."

But now music lovers may be able to get their favorite songs without paying or getting in trouble, if the promise of a new web site holds true. It's called Qtrax and its owners say it is a free and legal way to download millions of songs. It sounds good to the music lovers we spoke with.

"On iTunes, you have to pay 99 cents a song, whenever you go through them, you go through the songs, and it's like, uh, you don't want to have to buy the whole album," explained music lover Julian Zavala.

The site launched around the world Monday, but as soon as it hit the web, problems popped up. While the site claims to have the blessing of the music industry, three of the biggest companies -- Warner Music, Sony and EMI -- announced no deals have been signed with Qtrax and the site is not allowed to use their music catalogs. Officials with Universal said it was in discussions with Qtrax, but there were no formal agreements in place. So what should consumers worried about copyrights do?

Jay Lee, the host of Technology Bytes, a locally produced radio show, advised, "I would say wait and see. Obviously because Qtrax is in the limelight, they are going to pressured into doing it legit, if there is a way to do it and they manage to do it."

Lee says music lovers may want to give Qtrax a couple of weeks before downloading anything.

"If they do manage to work out the kinks with the record companies it could be real exciting, but it remains to be seen," he said.

As for the site itself, traffic was pretty heavy on it today, so it was running very slowly. The site claims it will have its downloadable program ready by 11pm central time.

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