For those keen to avoid raping and pillaging music from the nearest torrent site, a one-stop shop where unlimited DRM-free music can be bought for next to nothing must be a great attraction. Zaptunes, a new site advertising just that, has been making headlines this week. Trouble is, everything about it is a scam.
A few days ago various news outlets reported on the existence of Zaptunes, a new site offering DRM-free MP3 downloads for $25. Zaptunes claimed to have 8 million tracks available from the Big Four labels and untold others. As a nice introductory offer, Zaptunes offered their services free for 30 days. Nice.
Yesterday Hypebot had an email exchange with Zaptune’s media spokesperson Anand Patel who said that the site’s downloads “had been licensed from the appropriate major and indie labels.” But Zaptunes also says it offers music from The Beatles, an Internet impossibility as we all know.
“We have a contract with Sony Music, who hold the rights to most of the Beatles music,” said Patel. “I am sorry, but right now I can not give you more details about this contract.”
That’s because there is no contract and Mr Patel is mistaking people for fools. Here’s a short list of 13 unlucky reasons why (be sure to check out number 12 especially) and feel free to add more in the comments, there are dozens.
1. Zaptunes.com claims to be a San Francisco, CA based start-up. “With about $5 million in funding from various Venture Capitalists, we have steadily grown and made a strong foothold in the music industry,” they claim.
In fact, Zaptunes appeared just a few weeks ago on July 19th and despite $5 million in funding still begged people on Twitter to advertise for them with a tempting $10,000 prize due to be paid out August 22nd. No winners yet? We are surprised….
Tip: Try speaking to the press Zaptunes, they advertise your product for free….
2. Zaptunes isn’t confident that they’ll be around long. They registered their domain on July 19th 2010 – it expires on the same date next year. There’s stability for you.
3. Even though TheBeatles Twitter account with 109,000 followers follows the Zaptunes Twitter account, that doesn’t mean Zaptunes is legit, it just means people are keeping an eye on them. Zaptunes says it offers Beatles tracks. It does not.
4. Zaptunes promotes the availability of Eminem tracks, even though it has none. Zaptunes copied its entire Eminem fact page from an article they found using Google.
Their latest blog post was ripped from Last.fm and the one below that is ripped from MusicByDay. In fact, none of their posts are their own work.
Last.fm content is very popular on Zaptunes – it seems that much of the album art is ripped from there.
5. Other dodgy domains connect to Zaptunes.com including CaptainSam.com, which was registered by Tarandeep Singh Gill living at the rather official sounding 1 Something Road, Some City, California 94127. Even more reassuring is the Zaptunes.co.tv domain which also links to ZapTunes.com and is registered to ‘person surname’ living in ‘londra, GB’ – wherever that is.
6. Zaptunes says it offers tracks for free from the major labels. Anyone with any knowledge of the Big Four know full well that they never, ever give their music away en masse.
7. Zaptunes says it has a unique business model which enables it to offer unlimited downloads. None of the big labels together agree to unlimited downloads on a download service at any price.
8. Zaptunes’ search engine suggests they offer both unreleased tracks and a selection of bootlegs. The major labels love this kind of thing from their partners.
9. Despite all the claims, Zaptunes doesn’t offer ANY music whatsoever. From its own site:
ZapTunes.com does not provide any downloads from its servers. ZapTunes.com 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.
ZapTunes.com 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.
10. ZapTunes says its name is a registered trademark. Our searches with the United States Patent and Trademark Office drew a big blank.
12. Another URL that redirects to Zaptunes is www.24hfunds.com. Readers of this discussion thread on TalkGold will see that by page 6, the scheme promoted by its owner was deemed to be a scam. A search on Google for ’24hfunds and scam’ turned up 5,000 results.
13. Those unlucky enough to have given their details over already will see charges on their credit card account from TrackYourPics.com – the following is currently displayed on their site, spelling errors intact:
“Did you see a charge on your credit card with TRACKYOURPICS.COM? It is because you either signed up on trackyourpics.com or ZapTunes.com. All the subscriptions have been cancelled, so you will not see any furher charges on your credit card. Also, we are in the process or reversing the charges already made.”
TrackYourPics is registered to an address in San Francisco, California. Google seems to think that location is a drain cover.
A fitting place for Zaptunes. Stay well away.