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This article was published on January 31, 2008

Music service Qtrax: many promises, no music

Music service Qtrax: many promises, no music
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Frank Abagnale Sr.: You know why the Yankees always win, Frank?
Frank Abagnale Jr.: ‘Cause they have Mickey Mantle?
Frank Abagnale Sr.: No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.
Catch me if you Can

Last week we told you that our office pals Tim Heineke and Diederik Martens from Twones would show up at Midem to pitch their start-up. They came back with some great stories, one of which I have to share with you.

The people from music service Qtrax must have seen the movie Catch me if you Can. While watching, they’ve learned that it’s all about appearance. Impress people and they’ll love you, and your service. Frank Abagnale Jr was a doctor, pilot and lawyer, without any education. Only because he blinded people with his charming appearance.

llcooljSo the guys from Qtrax impressed the people in Cannes with several parties. They even invited LL Cool J, Don Henley and James Blunt to spice up their show with some music. Digital Music News reports that several executives shared details with them of the extravagance. One of their sources estimated that the costs are between 1 tot 1.5 million dollars. The Henley show expenses topped 456,000 euros and James Blunt showed up for an amount of 135,000 euros. “You can’t walk anywhere without seeing Qtrax,” said one executive.

Aside from the star element, Qtrax also bragged about some deals with major labels and a launch. They would supply Qtrax with music, which they would offer to their users for free. But in the end, Qtrax failed to launch and the majors didn’t know anything about the deals. Qtrax president and chief executive Allan Klepfisz remains optimistic though. “The response to the service is clearly unprecedented,” he claimed. “We believe the exact nature of that support will be publicly clarified within a very short time.”

Meanwhile, rumors about a possible stock manipulation are becoming louder. It seems like Qtrax is making the same mistake as Frank Abagnale Jr made, they got a little bit too enthusiastic. In the end, the charms don’t work anymore and you actually have to offer people something. In this case free and legal music downloads.