More on the way

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 by David

Ahhhh patience…life’s wonderfully difficult attribute. Allan Klepfisz wanted me to share to you all that he’s writing another update. It should be up soon.

Qtraxer

A Note From Allan Klepfisz

Posted in ad supported, Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog, Uncategorized with tags on July 17, 2009 by David

The Impossible Takes a Bit Longer

I suppose most of those that will read this first blog of mine, don’t know me. Though that doesn’t prevent a few supporters and indeed detractors from writing with the sort of certainty and detail that implies an intimate knowledge of, not only me, but also my motivations, character etc. In this age of blogging you can enjoy the illusion of having many more friends (and enemies) than you’ve really earned. Hundreds, if not thousands, can now exchange tweets with you. But I recall (from the days when I knew an occasional moment of leisure) that there’s nothing quite like a couple of really good friends. But to be a good friend of mine, these days (and I suppose for the past 8 years), you have to suffer all the considerable indignities I throw in your direction. Including but not limited to having no time to ever go out with you (or even socialize with you in my very occasionally occupied home), making highly unreliable times to talk with you on the phone, etc etc. There are clearly very few that would put up with this sort of mistreatment & so my friends are few. But hugely appreciated because I am the undeserving recipient of their undying loyalty. And they understand my obsession to accomplish the heretofore impossible. On behalf of my shareholders, my hugely deprived but amazingly focused and dedicated and inspired and inspiring colleagues & professionals, my family, my creditors & just in case I sound too damn altruistic, myself. In no particular order.

The entrepreneur- which as I write it sounds like far too pompous a title to attribute to oneself- can sometimes be selfless. Something I (usually feebly) aspire to. But if he is dedicated & “inspired” he is inevitably as selfish as hell. Because nothing stops in the way of “the vision”. And whatever he sacrifices of his own, he also mindlessly sacrifices of others. Most particularly his family. And friends. But perhaps I will try to assuage my towering guilt on another blog.

But back to my original assertion- most likely, you don’t know me. Well if you knew me, you’d know that in the mix of my few virtues & multiple flaws, I have an attribute which is probably both- to the extreme. I have a quite obsessive need to pedantically report it, as it is. Every scintillating and bloody boring detail of the truth. Unabridged, unexpurgated, relentless, accurate detail. The good, the bad & the ugly. And then some. Perhaps as a consequence, silence is a challenge for me. But one that I’ve been forced to master over the past few years- at least in so far as denying myself a voice in the public arena. My main reason for doing so is pretty mundane- no damn time. And the feeling that in the 20 or so hours a day, 365 days a year that you must dedicate yourself to achieving the impossible (and staying alive to do it), you are not doing everything that’s needed. Indeed, for all that you get done there’s so much that you can’t. And the notion of squandering time, explaining rather than doing, is not an attractive one.

But it’s become a necessary one and one that our long-suffering, amazingly supportive shareholders can rightly think is way, way overdue. So from now on, I’ve decided to use those occasional down times, when your output is curtailed by circumstances- like flying over the Pacific as I’m currently doing- to share a few facts, thoughts & lots of ramblings with you. Of course in detail. And most importantly, calling a spade a spade. Or even better, a bloody shovel.

Some of the questions I hope to answer are: Why has Qtrax taken so damn long? Why have we suffered multiple and major delays not to mention false starts? Why do we nonetheless think- more so than ever- that we have a completely unique proposition that is going to give the consumer, the artist and the rightsholders, so much more than they’ve enjoyed to date, in the digital age. And be a badly needed paradigm shift for the music industry. And why do we think- more so than ever- that the other models out there just don’t work. And what’s so damn unique about our model. And aren’t we just another crappy ad-supported model? And why would anybody believe, after all the delays, that finally we are going to be launching throughout the world, progressively? And how does an impoverished little company, that’s fought & is fighting so many battles get on its feet- financially & operationally? And when is everything supposed to be happening, this time? See that’s the trouble with the Pacific Ocean- it’s very big and the flight’s long, so you might be getting more info than you’ve bargained for.

Qtrax has taken so damn long because the impossible really does take longer. We are the only company in the world that has global licenses for free & legal downloads. From majors & indies. And there is only one territory in which they exist in the hands of others- China in which Top100 hits has a limited catalog in partnership with Google. And we have these rights for the world.

Now- am I claiming that in achieving the impossible, we’ve been highly efficient? Absolutely not. We’ve tried hard but the truth is that if total efficiency is the goal, we’ve failed. I’ve failed. You want examples of failure, wretched reader? Well here they are. We have had several iterations of the software. We chucked out the earlier ones and built something that is unparalleled, we believe, in its functionality. And ease & speed of downloading of music tracks (Perhaps 5 seconds). And accessible encyclopedic information. But in building this extraordinary product, our brilliant CTO, Chris Roe, abandoned just about everything from prior efforts. As did our unerringly spot-on content czar, Matt Kramer. So we wasted a lot of time in getting to a great product. And in shifting our team from Australia to NYC. And in stopping & starting as money ebbed & flowed. Boy, have we had a lot of stops & starts.

We’ve also been inefficient in going through two sets of expensive licenses with the music industry. We threw out the first set. They were too restrictive and didn’t allow us to present the ultimate consumer proposition: free, high quality, downloadable music. A massive catalog. Unlimited plays. Etc, etc. But the first step was the unavoidable stepping stone to the second as the industry liberalized it’s thinking.

And of course we had an aborted launch. In Jan, 2008. But enough has been written about that. Our spectacular international humiliation. That had a massive silver lining. We could demonstrate how huge a desire there was for our service. And we increased our resolve to be able to offer an unparalleled service. And globally.

But despite the fact that these “detours” have robbed us and our supporters of time, we have remained undeterred in our mission.

It’s not the done thing, perhaps, to be so direct but in my view it’s the only way to be. It may provide fodder to those that are dedicated to undermining us- whether because we are encroaching on their territory and threatening their business models (including the illegal ones that enrich themselves at the expense of the artists etc) or because they are twisted & jealous (I won’t name them because to do so would be to reduce myself to their level of character assassination). But telling it, like it is, warts & all, is pretty damn important. The twisted bloggers are great at frankness within a very narrow band- the warts of others (none of the good stuff about others ) and never, but never, their own warts. In fact, they are perfect & hence supremely qualified critics. If only the truth was not the reverse.

So, while making those lofty observations about telling it like it is, let me be even more frank. We have most often suffered delays because of lack of money. Did I say that? Do corporations ever say that? Probably not. But let’s aspire a little higher on the frankness scale. Oh, we raised a lot of money- and spent it as judiciously as we could (which we think was pretty damn judiciously), notwithstanding my confessions above to certain inefficiencies. But this is a crazily ambitious project and we’ve always needed more. Indeed, it is delays in promised monies, that have in turn, delayed us once more. Broken promises with money tend to create a vicious chain. Somebody promises somebody else who promises us. And any broken promise, in the chain, leads to delay on our part. Not to mention to our own set of broken promises. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not attributing the blame to anybody else. The buck (or lack thereof) stops with me. Probably, by now, I should have learnt to not make ANY predictions. Even with all the requisite disclaimers. But people, rightly want some guidelines & timelines. And so we try, not often enough, to provide them. But in a way, it’s too often. Because, particularly, in these unpredictable times, it’s very easy to be wrong. Because even if you add plenty of extra time to account for the unexpected, you can never accommodate a massive delay or a completely broken promise. But none of this is an excuse for being late. Nor is it an attempt to avoid giving what will, we strongly believe, be the final, unalterable, unmovable launch time. And we’ll do that in the next week. And you’ll be able to mark it in your calendar. And we’ll do a corporate update at the same time to give you a few more things to mark in your calendar. The reason we’re waiting until next week is we want to make sure we have the money in the bank. With money comes certainty. Our detractors may rejoice at the delay. We’ll all be rejoicing very soon. With much more joy. I just hope that the disbelievers don’t own any shares. If they ever did.

Our confidence comes from the fact that we have finally found the bucks (that we thought we had before). In almost sufficient & certainly substantial quantity, to do everything we want & need to do. Now, you might justifiably ask- could something go wrong? Could there be a further delay? My answer, and the only responsible answer, is anything is possible. And you can never be certain about funding until it’s in the bank. But this should be it. We have never had more money promised, with more certainty. From sources we trust. Whose word is their bond. And worth more than a 100 page contract. But if there is going to be the slightest variation, we will inform you ahead of time. We are confident. These people have previously delivered. And delivered. A very large amount in aggregate. Microsoft has often had major & repeated delays in releases. And they couldn’t use the money excuse. In our case, I think you know intuitively, that it’s the cold, hard truth. On to the next confronting question…..

So why is Qtrax unique & uniquely powerful? Because of its licensing contracts, certainly. But also, because of its business model. Refined over the 7 years we spent in the wilderness. Working on the licenses and thinking. And thinking. And thinking some more. Let me make a few reflections in this regard although I must ask you to forgive me if we don’t reveal every aspect of our “secret sauce(s)”.

First, if you want to have a viable ad-supported model, it helps to have people that know something about ads. Too many people that come up with a technology, even a winning one, place inadequate emphasis on the importance of getting the ad part right. Which after all, is the revenue, stupid! Or much of it. Now, my partners, Lance & Robin know a damn lot about advertising. They have lived it & breathed it for their entire professional lives. As many of you know (and are thankful for), Lance was (among many achievements) the founding publisher of Maxim magazine. And during the 8 or so years under his leadership, against all odds, the magazine became the number one men’s magazine in the US & sold hundreds of millions of dollars of ads to advertisers for our demographic- 15-35 year olds. And Robin- was of course the global Chairman & CEO of Universal McCann. In fact, made it agency of the year. These two guys happen to be damn smart at what they do. And not too dumb, otherwise.

Secondly, you need to make the site attractive to advertisers. Obvious, you might say. Well, not obvious enough to be a priority to so many sites including most that offer music. They are sinfully unattractive. Especially to advertisers. And user-generated content doesn’t help either. It often makes advertisers nervous. And most of the big sites to date, are based on user generated content. Which gives us a massive opportunity. Because advertisers need to come online to find our demographic. But they want to do it in a predictable environment.

Third, you need to be realistic about your revenues. Most of your income is going to come from network ads. Those low paying ads that populate most sites. You’re not going to earn a high CPM for them. In fact, you are going to early a decidedly lousy CPM. And only a small percentage of your inventory is going to be premium advertising which will necessitate negotiating with an advertiser and getting a more decent rate. But your business has to survive on low CPM’s and if it can’t, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. We have tweaked & tweaked our business model, to make sure it can. And Robin has then modeled our business model- 23 times to date. Not because he loves the task but because we take this shit very seriously. Because guess what- we’ve worked this hard to create a successful business. Not a money, losing proposition. When (ok, if & when) we have tens of millions of users, we want also to be profitable. Call us weird.

Fourth, you need to be mindful of your costs. Something that streaming services are discovering. And they account for all of our free music legal competitors. And you need to find a way to make your licensing costs bearable. Something we’ve worked very hard at.

Fifth, you need to have a sure way of getting massive audience. And we are creating that sure way. By engaging the dominant sites, search engines & media players in each territory. In short, by getting off our asses, leaving the comfort of the US and talking to eager marketing partners. My partner Lance has sacrificed his home life (not to mention his golf) to take to the road with me. Interminably. As has my long suffering partner, Chai. And Robin. And Alex. Perhaps not the common way for people in our industry. But a damn effective way.

Sixth, what about the local music? If you leave the safety of your home country and pound the overseas pavements, you might notice that taxi drivers in Hong Kong listen to Chinese music, in Turkey to Turkish music, in Dubai to Arabic music etc. So it takes effort & we are just beginning but we are intent on hunting down the sources of local music in every country we’re going to be operating in. And having something other than your standard, US, ethnocentric, music service.

I could probably go onto to 20 more unique aspects of what we’re doing. But as Dylan says, “Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore” and they’re serving breakfast on this flight which means the Pacific is soon ending and land is in sight. Apart from which, there has to be something left for another monster blog or 2.

But I haven’t answered all the confronting questions, I posed and I know there’s at least one miserable soul out there who is waiting to fault me on being evasive about something.

Just a word, then, on our battles. We have had every type. Battling against an old model for the music industry. Which served it so well for so long. But which the ability of consumers to bypass the CD, rendered obsolete. If you can get music free, albeit illegally, you will. And that’s why, perhaps 95% of consumption, perhaps much more, is illegal. And if you can buy, legally, just the track or 2 you want from an album, you will. Which is why both illegal activity & legal activity are making the industry cry out for a new model. But our departure from any conventional model was radical. Too radical. And we had to battle hard for it. And we did. And did.

And we battled the complexity of licensing. Our licensing guru, Rick Riccobono went on a mission to London to sort our the insanely complex terrain of European publishing licensing. He’s got it sorted after being there for 2 grueling years.

And we’ve battled to raise money. And to raise it while being honest (if sometimes wrong). Every day for about 7 years. Every day. With the help of a team that I thank hugely. They know who they are. And the money raised has mostly been from genuine investors who have mostly remained very enthusiastic for the entire period. Which has been really more than we could expect or deserve. Much more. But also from toxic PIPES/death spiral funds (Google that!) and inadvertently from some undesirables and we’ve ended up in legal battles with several of them. And a couple of suppliers who may or may not have done the right thing by us. And sometimes, frankly, we haven’t done the right thing by others, either. Like not being able to meet checks on their due dates. And as inexcusable as that has been, one by one we have worked thru situations to ensure that everybody gets paid. Even if it means dipping into our own pockets. No hiding behind the corporate veil for us. Whether it takes personal guarantees (& exposure) or personal funds, we’ve done what is required to keep the company afloat.

And we’ve battled to remain in control of our destiny. This has been a critical and constant battle. Because everybody knows how to do it better. But thankfully our largest funders have been the wisest. They’ve known that to tame us is to destroy us. I believe we have the most talented team ever assembled to get this job done. From our office manager Teo (who has to put up with both you & us), to the IT, content, licensing, advertising & funding execs. They’re nothing short of brilliant. And dedicated, And loyal. We’re also damn unconventional and we’re going to stay that way. You think we need to become more mainstream, more corporate? Screw you.

And we’ve battled to simply exist. To keep the lights on. Not to go the way of so many others. And to survive personally. I am both proud and ashamed that management is the largest creditor of this company. You’d understand why.

And we’ve battled not to dilute the hell out of shareholders while raising funds. And somehow we’ve succeeded in this regard more than could perhaps be expected.

We are nothing if not dogged. And stubborn. And determined. And God willing, our reward & that of our large number of stakeholders, is that we are very soon going to launch a powerfully attractive music service, with leading internet & media companies as marketing partners. That have existing substantial users. And we’ll progressively roll it out throughout the world.

This is the least that you, our long suffering, supporters deserve. And while it’s perhaps more than I deserve because of how long it took me to get here, as long as there’s breath in my body, I will not rest until it’s achieved. Of that you can be certain.

–Allan Klepfisz

Michael Jackson

Posted in Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog, Uncategorized with tags , on June 28, 2009 by David

039_30399michael-jackson-posters
I’ve been paying attention to the Michael Jackson media frenzy quite a bit. Not because I was the biggest MJ fan on the planet, but because ultimately we create our own epitaph. Especially when a person is a polarizing as the King of Pop, it’s crazy to try to understand his legacy outside of individual opinion. When someone is obviously as talented as Michael Jackson is, yet so openly flawed, the ink may never dry on his obituary.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on the music and his legacy as the King of Pop. This isn’t because we’re eager to turn a blind eye to the last 10 and the controversy which encompassed his life. On the contrary. It’s not even much of a discussion if he wasn’t who he became as an artist and a performer.

For all intents and purposes, pop music has seen three or four larger than life figures that have transcended not just pop culture, but life and culture itself. Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Madonna (debatable) sit on a short list of icons so big, that they change the rules for everyone. Whereas mega pop stars exist in a world that is music centric (like the cover of Rolling Stone) , icons like the above list lived in the fabric of everyday life (like the cover of Time magazine). However, even when you compare him to the very short list of peers, Michael Jackson’s musical accomplishments stand apart. 750 million albums sold globally. Thriller sold over 100 million copies which is more than double the next closest album. Plus, MJ has two other albums which sold over 30 million copies each (Dangerous and Bad). Only the Beatles have more than one album on the 30 million plus list, and one of those was a greatest hits (1) album. Additional accomplishments as far as number one hits, weeks on the charts, and top ten hits are right up there near the top of every category.

A lot has been written already about Michael. There will be plenty more to come. Everyone will have an opinion. There’s no denying the fact, however, that pop music will always be richer for having the talents of Michael Jackson to remember. Tragically, that’s only part of the story.

Silent Treatment

Posted in Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog on May 14, 2009 by David
Not everyone...just the blogger.

Not everyone...just the blogger.

Qtrax Nation…

I’m going fishing and golfing this weekend. And by weekend, I mean, in a couple of hours. I’m already getting plenty of grief from the home front for extending our annual fishing and golf extravaganza (Mancation) by a couple of days this year, so no need to pile on. The bosses are all working hard on your behalf, traveling the globe in search of making Qtrax the greatest thing since sliced bread, udon noodles, Vegemite, wurstel or whatever is the ideal food in the country they are in. I’m sure this will get all of your creative juices flowing and provide topic fodder for your amusement. Have at it.

Anyway, when you’re done with all of that and you still don’t know what to do, go download the mother load of Sonic Youth on Qtrax and listen to it all weekend while I’m slaying fish and sinking birdies. It’s the least you can do. I’ll come back refreshed and full of interesting metaphors regarding man sports and digital music. Oh, and don’t tell the bosses.

Swimming Up Stream

Posted in Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog with tags , , on May 8, 2009 by David

iMeem just scored a new round of funding from it’s investors which will keep the streaming music service/social music experiment going—for the time being. According to an article on CNET, iMeem’s financial problems have been going on for a while and some of their partners are getting antsy to see whether or not this can prove to be a viable business model. Other streaming sites are coming under similar fire. MySpace Music has also been criticized by music labels and industry insiders for not delivering on their promises to be a catalyst for increased music sales. Traffic is good, but this has not led to increased music sales. A separate article on CNET (by the same author) points out just how difficult it is to find the path to increased purchases via the social web. Not surprisingly, he states: “At the very least, MySpace Music’s sluggish performance illustrates how difficult that task is. Music consumption on the Web has really come down to two horses: iTunes and illegal peer-to-peer sites.”

Two horses indeed, for now. However, you don’t need to be a fan of horse racing to know that every once in a while, a long shot comes blazing up the rail and takes the world by storm. We hope that’s us. And with the odds of stealing music vs. purchasing it on the web at 100-1, you’ve got to believe in the dark horse.

What’s making these streaming sites have so much difficulty? It’s a bit of a complicated answer, because there are varying degrees of success and failure. Is success securing additional funding so you have a longer chance to prove out your model? Is success getting tons of traffic, but being upside down on your advertising model? Is failure shutting your doors so that you don’t continue to lose money? I guess it all depends on how you look at things. For iMeem, there is big traffic, lots of content, good technology and few ads. Ad dollars should follow, if they have enough time. However, there are also big label upfront dollars that are sunk, owed royalties and a too-high ongoing royalty rates for what has amounted to background music. Even Pandora has struggled with gaining some revenue. Their unique advertising model has secured great premium advertisers on a consistent basis. They also have added tons of mobile users with their iTunes (and now Blackberry) apps which has opened up additional mobile advertising revenue. However, the management team at Pandora have complained loudly about the high royalty rates for their (and similar streaming) services which are crippling their efforts to turn a profit. More users equals a greater amount of royalty payments that is not matched by the additional advertising revenue. This has become Pandora’s paradox, and is affecting many of the streaming services. In a rather harshly titled article: Warner Music Says iMeem It Worthless and Owes It $4 Million Which It Can’t Collect, the paradox is explained as follows: “According to comScore, imeem’s U.S. traffic has come down about 25 percent off its peak last July. As of March, 2009 it was at 5.3 million unique visitors in the U.S. and 24 million worldwide. In the perverse world of music streaming licensing, the bigger your audience, the more money you lose.”

I don’t want any of these guys to fail. In fact, I find Pandora to be one of the better music sites on the internet. I enjoy all forms of music discovery and get really jacked up when a song I’ve found on Pandora is available for download on Qtrax. This is how it should work. This is how it will work. Two horse race? Think again, I hear more galloping off in the distance.

Sound of Silver

Posted in Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog with tags on May 6, 2009 by David

lcd
When I first started writing this blog, I was thinking that it would be a cool music outlet with an unlimited supply of content from the Qtrax library. Both are not totally realized. Not only am I less prolific than I had hoped, but alas, Qtrax is still a work in progress. It seems as if the majority of readers are looking for information on Qtrax “the company” and are less interested in the actual music on the site. That’s cool, I’ll take any readers I can get. They go hand in hand, I’ve come to realize. Until Qtrax is fully up and running beyond it’s US preview, we’re forever going to be stuck answering questions from all over the globe as to when, why, where and how. The tricky balancing act in the whole equation is trying to be a good communicator without giving away any insider information which would make partners upset or SEC watchdogs cry foul. Most importantly, we are concerned about consumers. We hear all of you loud and clear. You want it all, and you want it now.

In today’s digital get-it-now world it’s acceptable to demand the things you want. In fact, we like it that way. In the long run it will serve to our advantage. I’ve only got 2,500 or so songs downloaded from Qtrax at the moment, but for some reason, that’s not nearly enough. I want the new Green Day, um, yesterday dammit! I’m like you guys. I’m trying to be patient. It’s hard since we all feel that we should have it all by now. As I’ve been reminded several times, it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. It’s to the point now that’s there seems to be a line drawn in the sand among those watching Qtrax. There are believers who will support us until it happens regardless of delays. There are non-believers who will take every opportunity to rip us regardless of progress. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like it’s about music too much anymore. I’m going to try and change that. I’m going to keep writing about the cool stuff you can get on Qtrax. I’m sorry if that’s going to upset people who are stuck without it at the moment or expect some sort of insider commentary regarding our deadlines and software upgrades. No disrespect, but that’s what’s fun to write about. I’ll still defend our product where appropriate, but I’m not going to rip on people for the sake of providing copy. I’ll leave that to the non-believers. I’ll also do my best to let everyone in on what’s happening on the tech side, but sometimes I can’t discuss it or don’t have anything new to report.

Back to the music. LCD Soundsystem’s 2007 album, Sound of Silver is one of those albums which hits you like a change of seasons. You sort of notice it at first, but soon enough, you’ve put away the umbrella and next thing you know, you need some aloe for your sunburn. As a late 80s college music junkie, I am enamored by James Murphy’s introspective sophomore album, but I nearly overlooked it all together. It sort of had that, “I’ve heard this before” sound which borrowed from Pavement, The Shins and some Smiths. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s a totally unique teleportation. There are many similarities to the late 80s and today. The economy, the job market and a war in the Middle East. LCD Soundsystem breaks bread with a bygone era, but provides a very forward soundtrack to the here and now. It’s a must have for any music library and less than a minute away on Qtrax.

Amazingly Ironic

Posted in Blog, Free Music, Music, Music Download, P2P, Qtrax, Qtrax Blog on May 3, 2009 by David

A while back, we got a rather ridiculous review of our installation process from Idolator. Idolator is a site owed by Buzz Media which has a bevvy of music-related web sites (Buzznet, Celebuzz, Absolute Punk, GoFugYourself, JustJared, Stereogum, TheSuperficial, WWTDD). To be honest, ever since we got the scathing review from the folks at Idolator, I’ve been checking in and seeing what’s going on. In fact, I rather liked their celebrity gossip meets American Idol gossip meets music gossip take on pop music an pop culture. Except when they are ripping on us, of course.

So, you can imagine my mixed feelings about the news that the Idolator had slashed it’s staff to, well, one. No one knows better than me that keeping up a well respected, global, highly informative and witty site with an army of one is sometimes a difficult proposition. At times I can be found curled up in the fetal position in my basement surrounded by empty beer cans and Kit Kat® wrappers hoping for divine intervention. Usually it comes when my wife kicks me a couple of times in the stomach or the reminder to get the kids off the bus goes off on my phone. Sometimes, it’s the bigwigs at Qtrax calling and wondering why their blogger takes off a few days between posts. Either way, any writer knows that collaboration serves as a hefty chunk of one’s inspiration. Sitting at home staring at a computer rarely serves as anything more than a reminder that you should get out of the house more often. So, to you , Maura Johnston, who is currently holding down the fort at Idolator, I tip my hat to your solo status and hope you keep on keeping on, dawg. This era in business will be remembered as the great contraction.

I will note, however, that there is some irony in the fact that the very same newspapers, bloggers and writers that cover a music industry in decline, also find themselves getting burned by the axe grinder’s sparks. Keep in mind people, there are no high horses to sit on anymore. There is no bully pulpit sanctuary of the economically immune. We all have something to lose. That’s not our motto over here at Qtrax, but we’re certainly cautious as we move forward. That is why we’re not always able to meet our own deadlines and get up and running on a global basis. There is a lot to gain, but there is also a lot to lose. We are very much committed to our revised May launch schedule for the v.1.1, but if it get’s pushed back even further, please be aware that there are sound business reasons behind it. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen, but we didn’t expect a delay in the April launch either.