U.K. collecting society PRS for Music announced a new licensing deal with Qtrax during MidemNet in Cannes.

Following an abortive launch for Qtrax at MidemNet in 2008, when labels denied they had agreed a deal after it was announced that they were on board, the service now appears to be in a stronger position. It now has secured deals with publishers and three major labels, with Warner Music yet to sign on.

PRS for Music, previously known as the MCPS-PRS Alliance, has partnered with the legal peer-to-peer service to provide access to the Anglo-American repertoire of Peermusic and other U.K. independent publishers.

The deal also includes PRS for Music direct members (excluding writers represented by EMI Music Publishing) throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) territories. It covers communication to the public rights.

The agreement with Qtrax marks the first of what PRS for Music expects to be many pan-European licensing deals covering mobile and online services.

"PRS for Music aims to provide new and existing Pan-European services with access to the widest repertoire possible," said Andrew Shaw, managing director for broadcast and online, in a statement. "We are pleased to have been able to facilitate Qtrax's move into the European market and we are excited about the further expansion of the European market for legitimate digital music services that will result from today's launch."

Qtrax, which compensates rights holds with advertising revenue, launched in the U.S. last year. It is not yet available in Europe although this latest deal suggests a launch is approaching.

"Critical to the success of Qtrax has always been a presence in the U.K," said Qtrax president and CEO Alan Klepfisz in a statement. "We are grateful to PRS for Music for its professionalism, knowledge of new media and its support for a legitimate ad-supported P2P platform."

PRS for Music will make a full announcement about its re-branding on Monday (Jan. 19).