US firm ZapTunes has announced that it wants to start selling music by independent and unsigned artists from its website. The company says artists hosting their music on the site will get ‘a percentage’ of the revenues decided on an individual basis, and claims to have signed up 500 artists already. Sounds good, right? However, artists may be cautious given ZapTunes’ history. It shot to prominence last year when it launched a $25-a-month unlimited MP3 downloads subscription service, including clearly non-licensed artists like The Beatles. It turned out that the company was just selling an MP3 search engine service to find music elsewhere on the web, with some users also complaining that their credit cards had been charged despite a promise that the first 30 days would be free. The original ZapTunes shut down in October 2010 before relaunching in January this year as a ‘music social network’.
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