Questionable Site Claims To Legally Offer Unlimited MP3 Downloads… Record Label Lawyers Already Springing Into Action

from the sounds-dodgy dept

What is it with random companies springing up claiming to have legal download offerings that don’t pass the laugh test. Remember a year ago, we talked about a company called that claimed to be the only site where you could legally buy Beatles MP3s, based on a bit of absolutely ridiculous logic, that it was using “psycho-acoustic simulation” to recreate the tracks, thereby giving it a brand new copyright. That company also got a registration for these “new” works by the Copyright Office, hoping that most people wouldn’t notice that the Copyright Office registration process is a pure rubber stamp effort, and conveys no actual legitimacy to a bogus copyright.

Well, it looks like we’ve got another similar situation, as some mysterious company called ZapTunes is claiming to offer unlimited MP3 downloads for $25/month — with an initial “free” period, though you have to hand over your credit card details. The whole thing sounds highly questionable, however. The store claims to have licensed the work from all the major labels, including being able to offer Beatles MP3s and AC/DC MP3s — which have not been offered in MP3 format anywhere.

In the comments on that Hypebot article, some point out that the company appears to just be scraping data, as it found a track that one guy had created himself, which only lived on his computer (but which had been “scrobbled” and the info was sent to The company also claims to have raised “about $5 million in funding from various Venture Capitalists,” but doesn’t seem to name any of them.

Despite the claims from the company that they’ve secured the necessary licenses for this, it appears not everyone agrees. EMI is apparently already starting the legal process. The whole thing really makes me wonder if these sites honestly think that people will buy their claims when there seems to be little evidence to support them. There are plenty of sites out there that offer up such content in a clearly unauthorized manner — but at least they’re honest about what they do. It seems pretty silly and destined to fail massively to falsely claim the legal rights to music you almost certainly did not license.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: emi, zaptunes

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Questionable Site Claims To Legally Offer Unlimited MP3 Downloads… Record Label Lawyers Already Springing Into Action”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Pierre Wolff (profile) says:

Why are you surprised by these sites and claims, afterall, the Nigerian scam money laundering email and its derivatives have been making the rounds for years and still appear to catch unwitting takers. If you look at the number of search engine queries for “mp3” or “free mp3 downloads” or “downloads mp3 music” or various versions of this, it suggests that statistically speaking, this is probably a pretty good scam in its own right 😉

interval (profile) says:

How is this possible????

Wow. Proudly proclaiming to be San Francisco based as well. If they were based on the desert steppes of Outer Mongolia I can see how they might think they would be able to escape the long A.R.M. (a zillion Zyringian ducats to anyone who gets the ref) of the RIAA there, but Sillicon Valley’s ground zero? Wow. They are begging for law suits. Maybe they have a legal ringer.

Urza9814 says:

Re: Re:

“Is there any Beatles fan out there who doesn’t already own the cd’s?”

Yes. People who don’t generally buy CDs. I’m a college student, and while I’m personally not a huge fan of them, I have a lot of friends who are. But let’s say I was a huge Beatles fan, and let’s say I was willing to purchase music from the RIAA. Well, for most of my life I would have just borrowed my dad’s Beatles CDs. Now let’s say there’s some songs that I didn’t rip from them, or my hard drive died and I lost my music, or whatever. I don’t live with my parents anymore, I can’t just go downstairs and grab my dad’s CDs. And I’m sure not going to buy the CDs for myself – what is this, 1995?

So yea, basically: anyone under, say, 25 who is into the Beatles has probably pirated them because there wasn’t a legal download option.

mikeinrichmond (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You could say that about ANY artist. Why bother making mp3’s available for people to buy? Maybe because we don’t live in the 80’s anymore, and since the torrents have it all anyway, perhaps the record companies will wake up and ‘monetize’ their collections that are sitting, unused and unappreciated, in a vault somewhere.

Murdock (profile) says:

They don't offer downloads - check this out

From the terms of use: does not provide any downloads from its servers. just enables its members to find free or paid music available on the Internet. The Artists/Tracks displayed on the home page and other parts of the website are for promotional purposes only and may not be available for free or paid download. has a database of websites that offer free and legal music downloads. Whenever a registered members looks for a song, ZapTunes searches for that song in the database, and if it finds a website offering a legal download of that song, it is displayed it to the user. If not, then ZapTunes looks for that song on Amazon, iTunes and various other paid to download websites, and displays the user their options. ZapTunes is not helping or promoting piracy in any way.

They don’t offer downloads, they just point you out to the internet at large. They aren’t a music service, they are a cleverly disguised search engine.

Dohn Joe (user link) says:

Holding Companies

“There are plenty of sites out there that offer up such content in a clearly unauthorized manner — but at least they’re honest about what they do. It seems pretty silly and destined to fail massively to falsely claim the legal rights to music you almost certainly did not license.”

Sure they are…that’s what God made holding companies for ;- )

fan says:


like the kid above saying that anyone under 25 would pirate the Beatles songs because they weren’t legally available for download. BULLSHIT. Those same people are the same people that will also illegally download plenty of other music (and other stuff) that was available for purchase online.
And the SOLE reason the music industry and artists are suffering because it’s contaminated by people like this with the “you owe me” attitude.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...