On the heels of several lawsuits from the vendors it has yet to pay for services, ad-supported music service Qtrax unveiled plans to go live in the Asia Pacific region on Oct. 29, with a U.S and U.K. rollout expected by the end of the year.
Specifically, Qtrax’s initial launch markets include China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
The news release was likely an attempt to put a positive spin on the company's progress after reports broke that Oracle, Millennium Information Technologies and Las Vegas Wall Street Group have all filed suit for payment default against the company.
Apple has set Sept. 9 as the date for its next big super-secret event. As usual, exactly what will be unveiled is a point of non-communication from Apple but endless speculation from industry watchers. Some expect an announcement around the rumored "Project Cocktail" interactive album music format. Others point to a tablet-like device laying somewhere between the iPhone and a laptop. Or it could just be yet another introduction if upgraded iPods or upgrades to iTunes itself.
The date, though, has many speculating that the Beatles may finally bring its catalog to the online store. Sept. 9 is the date that MTV and Harmonix are releasing "The Beatles: Rock Band" game, as well as the street date for the release of the Fab Four's remastered catalog. Adding iTunes availability -- possibly with a special edition iPod a la U2 -- would round out what is sure to be a massive focus on the Beatles next month.
A pair of recent analyst reports paint a dichotomous view of the digital music market. On one hand, the NPD Group revealed that digital music sales are making up an greater share of U.S. music sales than ever before, at 35% of all music sales for the first half of the year. Digital sales comprised only 30% of music sales last year and 20% in 2007.
"With digital music sales growing at 15 to 20 percent, and CDs falling by an equal proportion, digital music sales will nearly equal CD sales by the end of 2010," NPD analyst Russ Crupnick said in a statement.
Apple iTunes alone now contributes 25% of all music sold, up from 21% last year and 14% in 2007. Wal-Mart remains second at 14%.
As for pure-play digital retailers, iTunes remains the dominate provider with a 69% market share, followed by Amazon at 8%.
Mobile continues to struggle as a distribution channel for full song downloads, according to a recent Forrester Research report. The analyst group says listening to music on mobile phones in any fashion has a mere 10% adoption rate in the United States, and only 2% of U.S. Internet users have ever bought a song over the air.