Opinion and analysis of the day's music news.

Oracle Goes After Qtrax
-- Legal P2P service Qtrax has a history of not living up to even its own expectations. It has routinely missed launch dates and goes quiet for months at a time. Now, Qtrax is facing a bill for $1.9 million it was supposed to pay long ago. That’s bad news for a company that needs cash for its startup phase.

A Northern California district court has ruled that Oracle can refile its claim against Qtrax for $1.9 million for software licenses Oracle claims has not been paid. Qtrax had filed a motion to set aside the default but was denied by the judge’s September 3 ruling.

“After numerous efforts by Oracle to negotiate with Qtrax,” according to the ruling, “and many failed promises by Qtrax to pay,” Oracle filed the action in July 2009 and served Qtrax in August 2009. Qtrax’s original plea was due on September 8. The company was given an extension but failed to file a response by the October 23, 2009 deadline. In January, months after the court ruled Qtrax to be in default, Oracle told the court a settlement appeared to have been reached. However, Qtrax never responded to Oracle’s proposed settlement sent in January.

In its defense, according to the court’s ruling, Qtrax argued that its failure to respond to the complaint was excusable because of its CEO’s travel schedule (the court called this argument “not compelling”), its limited resources and its belief that the two parties had reached a settlement (which the court noted was “not supported by the record”).

According to a May 2008 press release, Qtrax was using Oracle infrastructure software to provide the scalable IT architecture for its music service. By July 2009, Oracle had accused Qtrax of breech of contract and was seeking a reported $1.8 million. “I feel both Oracle and ourselves will get beyond this,” Qtrax CEO Allan Klepfisz told CNET last year. (CNET)

Fontana, Slicethepie Ink Deal
-- Slicethepie has a partnership with Fontana Distribution in which Fontana will recommend the top Slicethepie bands to its roster of labels. The Universal Music Group-owned indie label distributor is home to such labels as Vagrant, Downtown, Filter, Kung Fu, Nitro, Six Degrees, ESL, Wrasse and Ipecac. (Digital Media Wire)

Study Looks At Similarities Between Music, News Consumption
-- A new Pew Research Center study on U.S. news consumption shows some similarities to how Americans are integrating digital music and other entertainment into their lives. Like music, news consumption is about as high as it has ever been – although the two industries are trying to figure out how to generate more revenue from those high levels of interest.

“Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the audience for traditional platforms. As a result, the average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger…In short, instead of replacing traditional news platforms, Americans are increasingly integrating new technologies into their news consumption habits. More than a third (36%) of Americans say they got news from both digital and traditional sources yesterday, just shy of the number who relied solely on traditional sources (39%). Only 9% of Americans got news through the internet and mobile technology without also using traditional sources.” (Pew Research Center)

Nashville Management Companies Merge
-- Scott Simon’s RPM Management has partnered with Rusty Harmon’s MTM Management. Harmon and his staff have moved into RPM’s Nashville offices. The first fruits of the partnership will be a country band featuring MTM client Aubrey Collins. (MusicRow)

Assorted Links
-- A question from the recent Eminem court case: is a royalty better than a 50/50 split? (Music Tech Policy)
-- A Q&A with Electric Sheep Company founder Sibley Verbeck, who is working on a virtual concert platform called Street Jam. (Musician Coaching)
-- A profile of The Orchard co-founder and chief creative officer Richard Gottehrer. (New York Times)