Qtrax: No music yet

Qtrax is an implementation of Songbird with some sort of search engine integrated, but downloads aren't yet available.

Correction: I originally posted that Qtrax uses MusicIP. According to a PR representative from that company, Qtrax has no deal with MusicIP--the companies have talked, but no deal has been signed. Apologies for not double-checking all my facts.

I was finally able to get the Qtrax 0.2 beta client, and it's clearly based on Songbird.

The ads work, the downloads don't. Screenshot

Songbird defies easy summarization: it's an open-source project, based on the Mozilla platform, that intends to ease the creation of digital media apps. The basic app is a straightforward music library organizer and player (some of Songbird's founders worked on Winamp), and Songbird offers resources for developers to create customized versions of this basic player (think APIs, documentation, sample code, a loose license, and so on). It's an intriguing project, but I hadn't seen any compelling reason to download it.

The experience is akin to using a skinned version of Firefox: the "browser" appears in the middle of the screen, and defaults to a Qtrax page that offers featured artists, such as Foo Fighters and Amy Winehouse. Surrounding this screen are various other UI elements, including the all-important advertisements. From the home page, you can register via a link on the upper right-hand side of the page (see screenshot), and once you've confirmed your registration via e-mail, you're ready to use Qtrax's search engine to find songs. These songs aren't stored in any Qtrax database.

Qtrax found my test case, UFO's "Love to Love"--about 10 different versions, in fact--but the download button gave me an disappointing but not surprising message that downloads are coming soon. Apparently until the licensing deals are worked out , there's no there there.

Qtrax registration screen
To register with Qtrax, download the client, follow a download link from the front page, and follow the "Register" link from the upper-right hand corner. But once you've done that, you'll still be waiting for downloads to be enabled. Screenshot
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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.


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