Did No One At eMusic Think About PR Impact Of Raising Prices At The Same Time Sony Signed?

from the braindead-PR dept

eMusic is a rather successful indie music e-commerce player (reports put it at the 2nd largest music store), that has focused on charging people a subscription that lets them download a limited number of songs each month. It also supported DRM-free MP3 files long before others finally came around. I have many friends who love the convenience that eMusic provides (I tried it, and didn't find enough of the music I liked to stick around) and are willing to pay for the convenience alone. However, it's almost hard to believe that no one on the PR/marketing side of eMusic failed to predict what would happen this week when the company made two announcements: that it had signed its first major label, Sony, and that it was raising prices. The reaction was quick and almost universally negative.

The complaints hit on a number of points, but the two big ones (obviously) are the price increase and the fact that many people signed up with eMusic because of its indie music focus, and related to that: their dislike of major record labels. What's stunning is that eMusic couldn't foresee what a negative reaction this would bring. The company has raised prices in the past, which also created some level of anger -- but people had to know that announcing both the Sony deal and the price raise at the same time, was going to be a PR nightmare. What I can't understand is why they didn't separate out the announcements. They may have felt it was a "pulling the bandaid off quickly" sort of moment, where they could take flak for both announcements at the same time, but they didn't seem to consider the fact that the two issues are completely linked in users' minds. It's not "eMusic had to raise prices" and "eMusic added Sony music." It's become: "eMusic had to raise prices to get Sony Music's catalog into the system."

That makes both eMusic and Sony Music look dreadful -- because here's a major record label, whose music many eMusic subscribers didn't want in the first place, now being seen as having made life worse (and more expensive) for everyone. By connecting the two issues, it seems like both eMusic and Sony Music are getting hit a lot harder than if the announcements had been separated.


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  1.  
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    Hayden Frost, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 6:49am

    what they should have done

    What they should have done was make it so getting the sony package was optional, just like hbo/showtime is in cable subscriptions.

    If you look at their "price increases", it's less than $1 per month. However, since they substantially cut the number of tracks you can download, they basically created a new low tier and raised the price of all other tiers by about $5. It's pretty lame to hide a price increase like that.

    And apparently, I didn't even notice that they dumped their "all you can eat" tier.

     

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  2.  
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    Impobus, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Wha?

    People PAY for music? When did that happen?

     

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  3.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Sounds like maybe eMusic got greedy and screwed the pooch:

    "eMusic is a rather successful indie music e-commerce player (reports put it at the 2nd largest music store), that has focused on charging people a subscription that lets them download a limited number of songs each month"

    Did anyone make THEM aware of that? If you're the 2nd largest music store and you've been successful at charging a subscription fee, you're earnings statements probably look pretty decent. Why sign Sony? Did they want to break out of indie music? If so, what was the reason for the disconnect w/their fans?

    "the fact that many people signed up with eMusic because of its indie music focus, and related to that: their dislike of major record labels"

    I completely agree. I know people that use sites like these BECAUSE they dislike Sony and their ilk. It's a sort of enemy of my enemy is my friend mentality. Then they stumble across some good indie music and bang, their hooked. However...

    "It's become: "eMusic had to raise prices to get Sony Music's catalog into the system.""

    Bull. It ALWAYS WAS eMusic choosing to raise their prices to bring on Sony's catalog. The problem is they didn't take their lessons from the Sony Reich on how to be all sneaky and shifty about it.

    But again, what the hell is the disconnect with their customers? Was there a recent change in ownership or an influx of outside investment in eMusic? Because otherwise, this move just doesn't make any sense. Was eMusic management always a bunch of Indie posers, the way Good Charlotte faked their ridiculous "English" accents?

    "That makes both eMusic and Sony Music look dreadful -- because here's a major record label, whose music many eMusic subscribers didn't want in the first place, now being seen as having made life worse (and more expensive) for everyone"

    I couldn't disagree more. Blame will be placed squarely eMusic's managment, mark my words. Because this move made eMusic "look dreadful", and Sony look like....Sony. You don't get mad at the enemy when Benedict Arnold commits treason...you get made at Benedict Arnold.

     

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  4.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 7:00am

    no subject

    I read about this earlier this morning and was quite shocked. I'm more angry at Sony than I am at eMusic, because it shows, once again, bringing in a money-hungry label forces new businesses to pay more than they should.

    eMusic is now doomed, as consumers will feel they're paying for Sony's music despite not downloading a single track offered.

    If anything, this is a clear example how the recording industry will push more people to "piracy", rather than work out a model which benefits everyone.

    I scoped out eMusic a while ago, and like Mike, really didn't find things I liked to stick around. I still visit every so often, just to see if the menu's changed, but this news certainly means I shall never visit again.

    A shame, too. I want to buy music, but I'm not paying more than $0.10 per song for it. Ever. I guess I'll be listening to my current collection for quite some time as I see no reasonable change ever coming my way.

    But that's okay. Their loss more than mine. The radio has yet to charge me a cent in those moments I get bored of my collection.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 7:53am

    I remember the good old days of Emusic when it was $15 a month for unlimited downloads. I downloaded so many gigs of music each month from there.

     

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  6.  
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    Sean, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 7:57am

    Sean

    I don't see why signing Sony is so bad as long as they aren't going to only be selling music.

    Just because I sell Toyota (indie) doesn't mean I can't also sell Honda (mainstreamier), right? How does adding more product to their service devalue it? It doesn't, infact, it adds value, and they may have increased the price because of it.

     

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  7.  
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    PRMan, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Re: Sean

    Because everyone who hates the RIAA and everything they stand for now has to pay more when they buy non-RIAA music because an RIAA party got involved.

    See the problem?

     

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  8.  
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    Dave (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Price increase already chasing people away

    I'm a long-time eMusic subscriber who has done affiliate marketing for eMusic on my podcast (daveslounge.com) for the better part of three years, and I'm quite conflicted by this.

    On the one hand, I'm not happy that eMusic is jacking up the prices at the same time that they're adding major label music, especially since I'm as anti-RIAA as anyone and view this as an obvious concession to Sony that offers no real benefit to eMusic's core customers -- especially all those customers I encouraged to sign-up.

    On the other hand, the increase for me is only $0.16 a song (from $0.24 to $0.40), which ultimately is still a better deal than iTunes or Amazon, and I know well enough to avoid Sony's music. If you only download indie music from eMusic, only the indie music makers get paid.

    That said, a few friends of mine are already using the #eMusicFAIL tag on Twitter and dropping the service, and I'm pondering doing the same. It's kind of a shame, though, because I encourage people to buy the music they hear on my podcast -- all non-RIAA artists/labels, of course -- and it's still cheaper per song to do that with eMusic than with anything else. Not sure what to do about this yet.

     

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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Re: Sean

    "I don't see why signing Sony is so bad as long as they aren't going to only be selling music"

    The problem is that it's a music store that has an Indie background w/an Indie customer base that specifically dislikes companies like Sony. If your customers hate Sony and you add Sony, then raise your subscription prices on EVERYONE regardless of what they download, that doesn't add value, it adds price w/o value to a majority of your base.

    It's like starting a civil rights and tolerance conference and having Syria be your keynote speaker.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:15am

    It's even better than that from an international perspective. The price rises hit everyone, but the Sony stuff is US only! So, those of us in Europe pay more than the already inflated prices we paid before (thanks to different pricing structures and exchange rates) but get no new content in return.

    The major problem with this is that indie labels will get hit. Hard. One of the major benefits of eMusic was that its subscription model encouraged experimentation. My 100 track/month plan would only get 60-70% used on albums I planned to buy, leaving between 2 and 5 albums worth of credits to spend on music I was unfamiliar with. These purchases will be the first casualty of the price rises.

    I've been a happy eMusic user for nearly 3 years, and would rarely hesitate to either defend eMusic against "anti-indie" trolls that would surface or to recommend them to like-minded people. It's a shame that I may no longer do this, but I'm basically stuck with them until stores like Play and Amazon are actually allowed to sell to me.

     

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  11.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:22am

    Re: what they should have done

    "and Sony Music look dreadful" Great!!!

    I never liked Sony but that is for some other time.

    It would have been better to offer RIAA labels on a different add on plan.

     

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  12.  
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    Mechwarrior, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Sean

    Sure. But when all those Hondas stay sitting on the lot, what will you do with them? Are you going to charge people more because you cant sell the cars you bought? Wouldnt that just move people to shop somewhere else?

    People need to think a bit before they say something.

     

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  13.  
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    Nik87, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:31am

    eMusic

    I am a long-time eMusic subscriber. Last year they lowered the number of tracks at every tier. Getting less music for the same amount of money did not make me happy. However, I truly enjoyed all of the indie music I could find there. I derive great pleasure from discovering left-of-center artists. Music that is played on most radio is so boring to me, I don't usually hear it. I am talking about over the air radio, not Internet radio.

    So, they are going to run with the big dogs now, having signed Sony. Me? I don't care if they have Sony music of not. Funny how just a few months they posted the reasons why it was GOOD for them not to deal with the big 4. They twist reality to make it fit for the day.

    Sony? I can get that at Amazon.com. And pay less. The business plan right now is you are given a certain amount of credits depending upon how much money you pay a month.

    If the new Dave Matthews Album is Sony and has 19 tracks, I would have to use 19 credits. I am *sure* that works out to more than $9.99 (or less at Walmart).

    To reiterate: I did not support eMusic, write hundreds of reviews to have them offer me less and less for my buck. And in this economy? Screw eMusic. They were posers after all.

    I will say this, after I leave this page, I am going to eMusic and use any credits I have left, and they are going to lose a good customer of over four years. They know where to find me if and when they get over themselves.

    -Nik87

     

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  14.  
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    Dave Barnes, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re: non-USA

    @PaulT,

    have you tried AmieStreet.com ?

    ,dave

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Jamendo.com. Nuff said.

     

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  16.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: non-USA

    Yep, I use it all the time in fact, though mainly for the freebies. It's improving, but they still have a lot of stock with "n/a in region" stamped across them and the more popular albums often hit 60c+ per track before I've seen them thanks to timezone issues.

    I don't find them as useful as eMusic, but I'll probably be visiting them a little more often now...

     

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  17.  
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    Michael, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Wha?

    I'd rather pay for music if it was in the form of a service that has absolutely no limits and is very easy to use and has features that are useful and innovative. I'd really rather not have to put up with questionable quality and the pain of searching out music elsewhere for free that could be had inexpensively all in one place with no limits to where and how I transfer the music.

    Hell, if I never had to download music ever again except to my portable device (which must also be without limitations), then I would have zero complaints about paying for it. I'd even put up with advertising if it was relevant to what I'm looking for, such as band t-shirts, box sets, concert tickets/dates, etc.

    I'm optimistic that we're headed that direction and iTunes will probably make that the popular method of media distribution, though I'm not so optimistic about the major labels and their cooperation in all this. I'm afraid they, with the plethora of copyrighted content, are going to die a slow, painful death that will only amount to many forward thinkers that tried to help, giving them a collective "I told you so."

    At this point, if the labels wanted a way to ease the pain and look for a way out of all this, they'd be wise to sell back the rights to the content they hold to the creators at an adjusted, but clearly reasonable rate depending on content popularity. Perhaps even turn that into an incentive, such as selling back the rights through a interest type loan system that offers exceptional services to the creators that allow them to connect to people and other business services without them lifting a finger. They might even make a bit of a profit off that.

    At least they would seem relevant to the artists they're supposed to represent and it would give them time to find a model that will be attractive to new artists. One where artists will actually WANT to sign with the label for their services, while still leaving distribution control of content in the creators' hands. The labels are going to have to learn that their place is now as a service and not as content protectors. Most artists are realizing that they don't want better content protection, but better content distribution.

     

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  18.  
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    qhartman (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Re: eMusic

    Your 19 track argument is wrong. They also introduced "album pricing". If an album has more than 12 tracks, you are charged 12 credits to get the whole thing, regardless of how many tracks it has.

     

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  19.  
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    Carlito, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01am

    Account cancelled

     

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  20.  
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    qhartman (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:14am

    No Grandfathered plans

    The thing that irritates me is that they are forcing people who have the old plans onto the new plans. The last time they changed, as I recall, since I kept my annual plan current, I was grandfathered in. Now when my annual plan expires in October, I don't have the option to stick with what I have. Also, I couldn't care less about the Sony catalog. If they had just made the catalogs of some of the labels they already carry more complete (Ninja Tune comes to mind right away) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. For the last 3 years eMusic has been a given for me, but when it comes time to re-up in October, I'm going to have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth it anymore.

     

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  21.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: eMusic

    The 12 track album thing is announced on "selected" albums, so that's no guarantee. Also the Sony deal is, IIRC, only on back catalogue titles, so he wouldn't be able to pick up the album anyway.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:53am

    I looked through Emusic's catalog after seeing them mentioned on TechDirt, but I never subscribed, because none of the music I like could be found there, and this is mainstream Top-40 from 1970-today. There might be one off-brand song from a musician that I like, when they have released hundreds of songs over their careers, all of which can be found on Itunes and in Amazon's MP3 download store. For this reason, I don't seriously believe that Emusic is the second-largest online music provider.

     

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  23.  
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    orkydoc, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Re: what they should have done

    I've been a member of Emusic since it was a flat fee for unlimited downloads. Then that changed, I bought a 19.99 m/o plan and I get 90 downloads not bad. They shifted again but I was grandfathered I kept my old plan my new plan is 50 downloads for the same 19.99 a month this is NOT a slight price increase it is like 144%!

     

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  24.  
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    Not Bob, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Re: Price increase already chasing people away

    Okay, so it's "only $0.16" per song more. But that works out to a 66.6% increase. I would LOVE to see my income increase by 66%. Seriously.

     

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  25.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:20am

    No seriously, who pays for music? I sure as hell don't.

     

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  26.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    I pay for it all the time. I am constantly scouring my copy of the Chicago RedEye for appearences by the artists/bands I download. When they're music is good, I LOVE paying for their tickets.

     

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  27.  
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    Dave, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Price increase already chasing people away

     

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  28.  
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    Glenn, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Sean

    Sean, I doubt that you're an eMusic subscriber.

    Many subscribe to eMusic with the idea of being
    able to take a chance on a lot of music, with
    the hope of getting exposed to a few great things.

    This works because the price per album is low.

    Bringing Sony in breaks the idea: you can't
    take as many chances because prices are
    substantially higher, and you don't get exposed
    to new music when "Born to Run" is added to
    the catalog.

     

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  29.  
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    Glenn, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re: paying for music

    > No seriously, who pays for music?

    I guess you aren't a musician.

    What if you worked at a job, and your employer
    said that you could keep working, but you'd
    no longer be paid because all your work can
    be accessed for free over the internet, making
    it impossible for your company to profit from
    it?

    I'm perfectly happy to pay for the fruit of
    musicians' labor.

     

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  30.  
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    Glenn, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re: paying for music

    > No seriously, who pays for music?

    I guess you aren't a musician.

    What if you worked at a job, and your employer
    said that you could keep working, but you'd
    no longer be paid because all your work can
    be accessed for free over the internet, making
    it impossible for your company to profit from
    it?

    I'm perfectly happy to pay for the fruit of
    musicians' labor.

     

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  31.  
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    Dave (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:15am

    You can make the numbers say anything.

    I agree with you that a 66.6% price increase is no fun. However, if I ditch eMusic for Amazon, which is $0.89 per song on average, it's another 122.5% increase per song **on top of** that 66.6%.

    Yes, I could buy two 15-song albums for $7.99 each, but even then, it's $0.53/song, which is still $0.13/song more than the new eMusic plans and doesn't offer quite the same flexibility -- unless I buy no music for a month, and then I don't get charged at all.

    You could argue that it's still better to go with Amazon, since you're only paying for the music you want, not getting charged if you don't visit the site for a month, and giving more money to the artists who make that music. (Amazon pays $0.40 to $0.65 per song, depending on a few variables. iTunes pays 70% per song and per album.)

    So it's not as cut-and-dried as it might seem at first glance. You might hate the price increase, but if you enjoy the eMusic experience more than Amazon or iTunes, you might decide to stick around anyway. I'm still deciding.

     

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  32.  
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    Dave (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:23am

    You're missing the point

    The point isn't to stop paying for music altogether. The point is to spend your music dollars on music NOT released by RIAA labels. Seek out the indies. Seek out the podcasts that play good new indie music, and buy a few songs they play that you like. That's how we create a new music business -- by supporting non-RIAA alternatives.

    After all, if all you do is download major label music, you're just reaffirming the importance of the major labels. That's not how we get rid of them.

     

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  33.  
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    Slatemass, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Long-time eMusic Subscriber

    As a life time music collector, I happily signed up with eMusic soon after they started and have never really torrented music.

    In the early days $10 USD per month would give you virtual unlimited downloads (although they would complain if you pigged out at the buffet table when you reached over 2000 tracks per month).

    I've lived through two different plan structures and related price increases, seen great labels come and go, and seen some nice user interface improvements.

    I'm all for eMusic being profitable, but am starting to question the value of my future plan when it renews in Novemeber especially in the number of tracks drop, the prices go up, and many of the items aren't even available in Canada. I currently get 65 tracks a month on a yearly plan (20% discount) for only $172.50 a year CDN.

    Yeah, a totally wicked deal and I know it. I have never cared for the major labels and "popular" music. This is the reason I can always find something to download every month.

    The best thing about eMusic is the ability to experiment with new artists and genres. I've broadened my punk snesibilities to include alt-country and electronica. When the number of tracks drop, prices go up and there is less room for new groups to present themselves as the Sony catalog takes over, I will be much more careful in my selections and unfortunately new artists or undiscovered one will remain in the background.

    Despite intending a different outcome, eMusic has always been very, very poor at customer service and working with their existing customer base rather than the potential non-susbcribers they may attract.

    This is just another example of poor optics and even worse communication by eMusic management.

     

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  34.  
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    vastrightwing, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Shoot in the foot

    XM/Sirius raising subscription fees (due to RIAA), eMusic raising fees, iTunes charging more for tracks. Winning strategy when the recording industry is already hurting.

    I will not subscribe to eMusic and will not subscribe to XM/Sirius.

    Pandora works for me at $36/YEAR!

     

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  35.  
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    Kevin, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Facebook group started

    Facebook group started to protest:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=81281012678

     

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  36.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: paying for music

    What if your employee said he wasn't coming to work anymore because he had already worked yesterday, and expects you to continue paying him for the work he already did?

     

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  37.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: paying for music

    point, set, match

     

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  38.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: paying for music

    Or he sold customer X a server and made a commission on it, then decided he didn't feel like working any more, but you still had to pay him commission on everything sold to X.

     

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  39.  
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    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: You're missing the point

    I missed no point. I've never payed for music of any kind, because I just don't listen to music that much if ever. I do occasionally trade what music I do have with others I know in exchange for theirs, but I don't actively go out and download anything for free or otherwise. So for me the point is moot.

    For others who have nothing better to do than listen to music... I say don't pay for shit until all these asstards stop expecting a life time of money for a couple of good songs. If that's how some of these indie bands operate, then good for them, buy their stuff. If it's not, f'em, major label or not.

     

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  40.  
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    Rick, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: You're missing the point

    Sounds like you should just butt the fuck out of this thread if you're such a boring fucktard that you don't even like music. I think there's some NASCAR on TV bitch.

     

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  41.  
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    Rick, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Wha?

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH. That was awesome. Did you make up the witty off-the-cuffer yourself? HAHAHAHAHAHAH. I totally get it. You're saying it like you're surprised, but really we're supposed to know that you're not surprised, and you think it's stupid for people to pay for something you can just steal. AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. HA.

     

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  42.  
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    herodotus, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    This blog represents an interesting new culture to me.

    We see all kinds of people here who have this adversarial attitude toward the RIAA (which I agree with completely).

    We have all kinds of people complaining about subscription services charging more than they used to, as if prices going up isn't about the most normal thing ever. If it is such a bad idea to raise prices they will lose money and will probably lower them. Again, normal everyday business stuff.

    We have this odd adversarial attitude toward musicians, as if they all expect to be payed for doing almost nothing, like some sort of ASCAP welfare recipient.

    We have a thriving subculture of freetards who are 87% at odds with the views of their host, but who never seem to realize that they are, even though he tells them again and again and again.

    We have numerous people romanticizing musicians, as if they are so fucking weak that their muse will die if they don't get a big monthly royalty check. (To all of whom I suggest: google the name 'Charles Ives' for some enlightenment.)

    We have a thoroughly healthy antipathy toward major labels.

    In short we have all kinds of people talking about music and musicians who seem to know fuck all about either of them. As a musician who is largely sanguine about this brave new digital world, I have to admit I find all of this rather fascinating.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    In short we have all kinds of people talking about music and musicians who seem to know fuck all about either of them.

    Actually, many of the people who participate in these discussions are musicians or are heavily involved in the music industry. Why would you suggest otherwise?

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Mike, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 9:53pm

    #emusicfail twitter tag censored, removed from emusic subscriber comments

    Apparently emusic is getting scared of the scope of the repercussions, particularly what could happen if the outrage moved to twitter. They removed all of the subscriber comments referencing the #emusicfail twitter tag from the CEO's announcement blog ( http://17dots.com/2009/05/31/more-of-the-good-stuff/ ). What is funny is that this renumbered some of the comments, and there are some inconsistencies now where one comment references another by number and it is no longer correct. Someone noticed at around comment #811 (unless they remove it... ha ha).

    #emusicfail "to sell your customers out to Sony corp"

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2009 @ 10:39pm

    Signed with SONY!?!?!?!?.


    BYE!

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:35am

    Connected but not in quite that way...

    Emusic is struggling. Amazon and the rest of the DRM-free stores have been hurting them. Alot. So it's all well and good to say that signing Sony or raising prices a bit makes them less attractive to you, their hardcore indie fans...but it turns out there aren't enough of you for them to succeed as a business. So they need the major label catalogs to draw new users to get to profitability, if they have any hope of doing so.

    The price increase may have been forced by Sony, or maybe not. The problem is that more catalog means less money paid to the content owner for each track. Given fixed monthly subscription income, if they add alot more tracks and suddenly people are using their entire allotment instead of 2/3 or 3/4 of it (or less) then the $/track going back to the content owner (primarily indie labels) goes down. And it's already *way* below what iTunes or Amazon pay out to content owners, as it has to be since the tracks are so much cheaper for the end user (if you download your full allotment every month). So to keep all of the indie labels from leaving as a result of this deal, they had to raise the prices. Or maybe Sony made them raise the prices, who knows. I say chances are 50/50 it was Sony vs Emusic being concerned about other labels leaving due to lower $/track going forward.

     

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  47.  
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    herodotus (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, many of the people who participate in these discussions are musicians or are heavily involved in the music industry. Why would you suggest otherwise?

    I didn't suggest otherwise, at least not intentionally. I probably oversimplified. (Beer, you know.)

    But many of the people who comment here (like the clever fellow who doesn't buy music because he isn't one of those people 'who have nothing better to do than listen to music') do have rather amusing notions about what being a musician consists of.

    Seriously, though, despite the snark in my last post, I genuinely find this place interesting. I have never had a chance to hear the views of so many post-CD music fans before, and it's enlightening.

     

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  48.  
    icon
    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I didn't suggest otherwise, at least not intentionally. I probably oversimplified. (Beer, you know.)"

    Nothing says hard working musician like drunken comment posting at 6pm...

    But seriously, I'm going to check out your tunes at least. I figure supporting musicians who actually ENTER the discussion is a good thing.

     

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  49.  
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    herodotus (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    "Nothing says hard working musician like drunken comment posting at 6pm..."

    Excuse me?

    I was drunk at 8 pm not 6 pm.

    Not everyone lives in California.

    But seriously, I'm going to check out your tunes at least. I figure supporting musicians who actually ENTER the discussion is a good thing.

    Thanks.

    More can be found on our Taxi page.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Sean, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Sean

    Well, good thing for both of us neither you have I have heard all the music that has been recorded in the world. Just because Bruce has been around for 30 or 40 years doesn't mean his music has been heard by everybody. I'm 25 and only just started listening to his stuff, so essentially if I used eMusic I would have found "new" music because in my sense, new music is music I haven't yet heard, while apparently for you, it is based only on the date of release.

    There are still hundreds of thousands of old songs you've never heard, so it's new music, and now more of it is on eMusic. So, explain again why this doesn't allow people to find new music?

     

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  51.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    Sweet.

    Cheers. Pun intended.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Greg andrew, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Everybody here is assuming that the deal with Sony is the reason for the price increase when, in actuality, it's probably just as much the justification for the price increase. Emusic has been under pressure from a lot of independent labels to charge more for what they had And Emusic needs to both make money and be in harmony with independents to survive. But Emusic doesn't want to appear like they are just raising prices and providing no added value, so they link the acquisition of Sony's back catalog to the price increase.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:59pm

    The speculation about eMusic's price increase being intimately tied to the Sony catalog becomes difficult to deny when you consider that current emusic members in the UK, EU and Canada, unlike those in the U.S., are not being forced to adopt new and more expensive plans...the 'coincidence' being that the Sony catalog is not yet available in those countries.

    http://www.emusic.com/help/faq/catalog-expansion.html#q6

    Q: Will the Sony catalog become available to subscribers in the UK, EU and Canada?

    A: We will be making the Sony catalog available to members in the UK, EU and Canada. We don’t currently have a timetable for when this will happen but we are actively working on it.


    Q: Are prices changing in the UK, EU and Canada?

    A: Current members will see no change. Prices for new members will change. We’re doing this for two reasons: To help attract new labels and bring back those we all miss and keep us where we need to be as a business.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    musicfan, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:18am

    Watch twitter crowd and the news

    Check the news on my web above and go on twtitter and check for #emusicfail .. come on, very bad move from emusic.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Christopher Cashell, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Sean

    I signed up with eMusic a long time ago, so I'm on a plan that isn't currently available. I currently pay $11.99 for 50 tracks per month.

    Per eMusic, at the end of this month I'll be transitioned to a plan where I pay $11.99 for 30 tracks per month.

    I'm now paying the exact same rate and getting 40% less value for it.

    Considering that I have hundreds of tracks on my "saved for future purchase" list, I'm not exactly hurting to find stuff to download. The bottom line is that I'm now getting screwed over and yes, it is bad for me. Very bad.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    William Jacobson, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:28pm

    Re: Re: eMusic

    In reply to qhartman:
    The "album pricing" will only be available on select albums, the details of which remain unknown.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Jay, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    About that Sony

    I've been boycotting Sony since their rootkit installs of 2005. So to see them hop in bed with my only music download service is horrifying. It seems the culture of emusic has really changed since the old CEO left in 2008. Sigh.

    I admit, emusic will make more money, but only because they'll be squeezing out the indie downloads for major label back catalogue.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Mike, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:32pm

    Emusic lost me

    I have canceled my plan after they cut my songs from 50 a month to 30. I have no interest in anything from Sony and that's the end of the road for me. Breaking our initial agreement is inexcusable, I hope Sony made it worth their while. I was with eMusic because they were not with major labels, now I hope they go out of business.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Dave, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    PR disaster

    Yeah, I think the main thing is that it looks like they did no PR management and no customer marketing research before going ahead with this plan. Also, as a musician who sells stuff on emusic (as well as being a subscriber) I find the lack of info about the price increase on the other side (i.e. will I be making more per download now or is all the overflow going to Sony) disturbing.

    I also think they should have raised prices rather than lowering downloads. People can understand price increases; they will never understand service decreases. Plus, psychologically, it's a lower number they have to deal with. If you're subscription goes up from $10-$15 that's a $5 difference rather than 20 download loss. (Or whatever it is...I'm not dealing with the real numbers)

    These folks clearly didn't do any research on the impact of this decision so I'm canceling my subscription, if for nothing less than the fact than I don't want to reward executive incompetence. Plus, I'm assuming they have a plan (or are going to put one place soon) to woo back dropped subscriptions unless they have enough reserves to cover the 6 months or so before they're able to replace the income from the dropped subscriptions.

    I used to hang on to my grandfathered 90 download emusic plan since I knew I wouldn't get that deal again, now I don't have to. I can quit and come back in at any time with essentially the same plan they're lowering mine to. I can sign up for a month, grab the albums I want and not have those months where I'm just downloading stuff I have an interest in hearing but wouldn't actually buy if I was paying full price for it. I think they seriously have misjudged their customers and the value of their service. But hey, I could be wrong. Time will tell.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    V, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    My recent letter to eMusic...

    Dear eMusic:

    I've been a loyal eMusic customer for a few years now ...And by "loyal," I mean that not only do I love your service, but since I became a subscriber, whenever the subject of digital music came up in conversation, I always made it a point to bring up eMusic, then literally praise it and urge others to subscribe. That being said, I am highly disappointed with the changes you plan on implementing in July.

    I understand after reading the letter from your CEO that the upcoming rate hike is mainly due to a) adding the entire Sony music catalog, and b) the hope that eMusic will now gain further attention from other major labels. Granted, 40-50 cents per track is still a better deal than most digital download services and therefore makes eMusic attractive to prospective customers, but I think you've lost sight of the fact that the new pricing structure is a very significant hit to your existing customer base. I could understand an occasional increase of a few cents/month or even an extra dollar or two per month (like last year), but with this new price change in July, you're literally just about doubling the cost to current subscribers.

    I'm currently on a plan that provides me 75 tracks/month - and being the music addict that I am, I need this higher plan considering my "Saved For Later" list hasn't dipped below 200 albums in quite a while. But now, in order to get the exact same number of downloads per month, I'm expected to pay $31/mo. instead of my current $16/mo.?! ...This is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion - in fact, when I read the new plan options, I honestly thought it was a mistake at first.

    Granted, for this higher price, I will now be able to download albums from the Sony catalog, but the reality is that I never asked for this. Instead, I was simply told that I will have to pay twice as much for something I didn't want. Even if I had petitioned eMusic for the addition of the Sony catalog, I would've said "no thanks" as soon as you told me that it would practically double the cost of my subscription in order to get it.

    Though it's been a tough decision given my previous love and advocacy for eMusic, I'm very sad to report that due to the lack of accommodating options for existing subscribers and the general inconsideration displayed by your company surrounding the proposed changes, I plan on cancelling my eMusic subscription out of principal when my renewal comes due in November (unless something drastically changes in the meantime).

    Please keep in mind the voice of a concerned loyal customer before going through with the proposed changes.

    Thank you for your consideration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    New Indie Music Artists Fight Back, Jul 4th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    yeah, money-huggers make it hard for indie music - it's artists and it's followers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    kneedeep, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: eMusic

    What about all the albums with 8 tracks selling for 12 credits?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    crunchyave, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 12:23am

    Album Pricing

    In reference to an above comment about album pricing:

    Yes, the album pricing is supposed to be 12 credits for a full album. What they've actually done in most cases is this:

    Albums that have perhaps 3-6 long tracks (like most of the music I was downloading, before I became an ex-subscriber) cost 12 credits, depending on the length of the tracks.

    On the flipside, many albums with more than 12 tracks cost more than 12 credits - which further decreases the value of what you receive for your money.

    This is what's happening to many of the indie labels which attracted me to eMusic in the first place. Screw you Emusic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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