“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”
Back in the day, I enjoyed going to a Grateful Dead concert or two. Not because I was a big fan of their music–it was OK, but similar to most casual Dead fans, it was the scene that was captivating. My favorite spot attend a show was Las Vegas. A city built on excess which was powered and watered by draining natural resources meeting up with a traveling band of kine rainbow brothers and sisters seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. Not so. Vegas was the favorite pit stop for many Dead Heads. Surprisingly, the city of Las Vegas loved the Dead Heads as well. I liked it for many reasons, but mainly Vegas and The Dead were just such a glorious clash of cultures. Blinking lights, buffets, air conditioning and free drinks are all good when you’ve been indulging in the excesses of a Dead show in 100 + degree heat. Plus, I always had a thing for hippie chicks.
The Dead were pioneers in the world of file sharing. Instead of mounting a massive legal fight against their fans for recording, distributing and profiting from the re-sale of their music—they embraced it. In fact, the redistribution of their live music helped them, a) become one of the most financially successful bands ever; b) build a huge base of ultra-loyal fans with one of the smallest studio music libraries; c) continue to remain relevant and popular through almost 3 generations of music fans. Back in 2000, when the entire music industry was finding the appropriate public square to hang a 19-year old Northeastern drop-out who created a file sharing service, only a few musicians spoke on his defense. Grateful Dead lyricist, John Perry Barlow, who became co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, actually went as far to describe Shawn Fanning (Napster) as a revolutionary akin to the patriots who dumped British tea into Boston Harbor. Most artists didn’t see it the same way. Ain’t that right, Metallica?
All this seems like a lifetime ago. However, the digital music revolution is less than 10 years old. Hell, my car still has a tape player (for Dead bootlegs and old girlfriend mixtapes, I assume) and is much less than 10 years old. If you’re under the age of 25, ask someone older than you to explain what cassette tapes are or look it up online. Worse than the dinosaurs, cassette tapes are gone and almost totally forgotten. Now we’re in an era where digital downloading is the norm. Consumers have decided that, and like the revolution of the patriots and early digital pioneers—it could not be stopped.
Fast forward through thousands of lawsuits and billions of downloads to today. A new era of digital downloads is beginning. This is the world of Qtrax. Free and legal music downloads has finally arrived. We’re not going to bore you with every detail of our history (which is truly in the eye of the beholder). This journey began nearly 10 years ago for us as well. The road has been bumpy, winding, treacherous, dangerous and costly. Around each corner has been seemingly insurmountable road-blocks that we have somehow managed to get through. Are we all the way there yet? Not quite, but stay tuned during the next few weeks. Are we close? So close. Will things continue to get better? Definitely.
So, for now, install the Qtrax player/browser and start downloading the millions of songs from all the major labels and our huge library of independent music. It’s ad-supported, so feel free to engage with the sponsors who are literally giving you access to the most free and legal music on the planet. Tell your friends about it and let the next music revolution begin.