Qtrax is the company setting this ball in motion, striking a deal with Universal that covers publishing and recording rights, and should see music available for free within the next month or so.
The company has also struck deals with Beggars, the UK's largest independent label, and the publishing arms of EMI and Sony/ATV, but this deal is the first covering publishing and recording.
Using peer-to-peer software, downloaded music will be the users for ever as long as they regularly log in to renew the rights management. Tracks will also be transferable to iPods and MP3 players.
As well as displaying advertising, the site will offer merchandise, concert tickets and other music-related items for sale. Check out the site here.