EMI Starts Supporting Ad-Supported; Qtrax + Spiralfrog

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(Please note that in our earlier coverage, we inadvertently confused the licensing history of Spiralfrog with competitor Qtrax.  Qtrax, not Spiralfrog, launched in January without proper licenses, and we apologize for the confusion caused.  As fate would have it, EMI Music has now licensed both in quick succession.)

The experiment that is ad-supported music received a powerful nod this week from EMI Music.  On Tuesday morning, the company licensed its catalog to Spiralfrog, and later in the day, the company announced an agreement with Qtrax.  “Guy Hands and EMI Music have demonstrated great vision and leadership and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have their support,” said Qtrax founder and chairman Allan Klepfisz.

The Qtrax license covers both streams and downloads.   The DRM-protected downloads can be ported onto three compatible players, though users must visit the Qtrax destination at least once every 60 days to keep the songs alive.

Both Qtrax and Spiralfrog have been trudging through difficult and expensive licensing processes, perhaps a strong advertisement against legitimate licensing paths.  In the case of Qtrax, a blowout launch in January simply blew up, thanks to missing major label licenses.

Spiralfrog has also experienced its ups and downs, though both are pushing forward with their steadily-expanding catalogs.  On Tuesday, Spiralfrog pointed to a monthly unique user base of five million, quoting data from Nielsen//NetRatings.