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EMI offers music catalog to Qtrax network

Qtrax is one of several legal peer-to-peer networks that have captured the attention of major labels.

The EMI Group record label has licensed its music catalog of more than 1,000 artists to Qtrax, a legal peer-to-peer network owned by Brilliant Technologies. Qtrax, which has yet to be released, also has licensing agreements with several other music corporations, such as BMI and the Association of Independent Music.

Legal P2P networks have become more commonplace in the wake of the crackdowns on illegal file sharing, and major record labels appear to be interested in collaborating with them. Last month, EMI struck a similar licensing deal with start-up Mashboxx; like Qtrax, Mashboxx has yet to launch. The business models of these legal P2P networks vary, however. Mashboxx, for example, plans to charge a 99-cent fee for downloading a song that has been "claimed" by a record label. Qtrax, on the other hand, hopes to offer unlimited free downloads through an ad-supported service. As for whether either model will prove successful, it's still far too early to tell.