eMusic Trying To Censor Critics Of New Pricing Plan? [Updated... And Again]

from the not-smart dept

We just wrote about the PR nightmare facing eMusic for announcing both a price increase and its first major record label signing at the same time -- leading many to assume that the price increase was due to the Sony Music deal. Some in our comments pointed out that eMusic subscribers were protesting in a variety of places -- including on Twitter, where they were using the hashtag (used to designate a unique cause or event): #emusicfail. And, as usually happens in such situations, many of the hundreds of commenters on eMusic's own blog post on the deal mentioned the Twitter hashtag, and encouraged others to start using it as well, while making their protests public. So, how did eMusic address these angry customers?

It apparently made them disappear. [see update below]

A commenter on our post, pointed us to a comment on the eMusic blog noting that all of the comments that mentioned the Twitter tag had been deleted by eMusic -- not only wiping out signs of the protest, but also screwing up the numbers of comments, which made the conversation confusing, since people are referring to other comments with the wrong number now.

So, rather than address the fact that there are a ton of angry protesters, eMusic simply decided to pretend they don't exist? It's hard to see that ending well.

Update: eMusic got in touch to say that they have not blocked or deleted any comments, and suggest that it may have been an issue with CAPTCHA problems not allowing comments to post rather than any actual intent to block conversation on the subject. The company also notes that it has responded to the complaints, though I'm not sure it really addresses the specific complaints from subscribers.

Update 2: There is growing evidence that the original post was correct, and eMusic's response was false, though we're still trying to clarify. Someone has detailed examples of comments moving up (which would happen if other comments above it were deleted) and also, perhaps the most damning of all is that, as of the time of this update, there's a 13 count discrepancy between the number of comments listed under the post, and the actual number of comments. It certainly sounds like 13 comments were deleted, though eMusic insists that it has not removed any comments.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    In 3...2...

    Countdown to "our fat fingers hit the wrong button" apology (you know, like Amazon).

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    David T, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Wow, how can any v2.0 tech company think that it's possible to silence user anger by deleting user comments?

    Do you hear the thunder on the wind?

     

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

  3.  
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    Easily Amused, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    not a flame on you, David, but am I the only one who is sick to death of the '2.0' moniker being tossed out all over the place? It was never more than marketing-speak anyways.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    Isn't it amazing that the "2.0"s think that an upising by 0.001% of the users is significant?

     

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

  5.  
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    Dave Barnes, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Solution is simple

    Cancel your eMusic subscription.
    We have marked our calendar to cancel right after we download the latest batch of music.
    A 50% plunge in revenue would send a strong message to eMusic management.

     

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

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Re: Solution is simple

    Not gonna happen. People are sheep and like to whine on the intertubes, but a very small fraction will actually speak with their wallets.

     

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

  7.  
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    Dan, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Re: In 3...2...

    I have to agree, but I was thinking more along the lines of a Facebook-style retraction. "We've heard you loud and clear..".

    That might not be an option for them though if they've already signed a contract in blood with the Devil..er, I mean Sony, and don't have the option of rewinding. In that case I'd say that they've just screwed themselves.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    @Dave Barnes

    A 50% plunge in revenue? You are dreaming. Yes, this is a bad PR move on their part. Yes, they could handle it better. But 50% drop in revenue? I doubt Amazon had a 0.5% revenue hit from their flub a month or two a ago, and I doubt emusic will see a anything more than a single digit drop. Even if there is a significant drop in subscribers, how much of that will be offset by the higher subscription costs? I'm guessing most if not all of it.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    Oh, don't be practical and realistic - it demoralizes the "2.0"s, who think they rule the world.

     

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

  10.  
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    JJ, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Oh thank God...

    I was afraid you were going to tell us that they sent a DMCA takedown notice to twitter claiming that all twitter posts with that hashtag violated their copyright and must be removed.

    Not that it wouldn't have been good for a laugh... but it's nice to know that they're merely stupid rather than insane.

    One day, though, you know a lawyer is gonna try this.

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    Doh! I wonder what happened to our customers?

    Oh yeah, We treated them like shit!

    doh

     

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

  12.  
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    EVIL_BASTARD, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Solution is simple

    Done!

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:50am

    RIP: Web 2.0

    ***ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION***

    DUE TO OVERUSE AND A QUESTIONABLE REASON FOR EXISTENCE IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE TERM "WEB 2.0" HAS BEEN CANCELED.

    REPEAT: THE TERM "WEB 2.0" HAS BEEN CANCELED.

    LONG LIVE WEB 3.0

    ***WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL***
    ***WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL***
    ***WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL***

    CBMHB

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    alex, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Solution is simple

    "People are sheep and like to whine on the intertubes, but a very small fraction will actually speak with their wallets."

    Right...and everyone in this recession love paying more but getting less. I've gotten the psychology of the American public wrong all this time.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    If you're gonna troll post your name. Yes I realize the irony, but since I'm not trolling...
    Emusic is making a mistake and followed it up with another mistake. Angering your base is a sure way to lose consistant revenue as most people are fickle. I can promise that the 30% who are serious indie music fans will be a huge loss when they go somewhere else. Another site will just spring up in their place...oh wait...jamendo.com

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    Not really accurate to compare Amazon and eMusic in terms of effect to their bottom line. Amazon removed reviews on a couple of items out of thousands that they sell. eMusic is censoring commentary on agreements they've made which affect their entire business. Half of customers not buying Spore is different than half of customers not using Amazon.

     

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

  17.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    > Cancel your eMusic subscription...

    If you do, and you continue to purchase music [somewhere else], you only end up punishing yourself as well in the process though, seeing as how eMusic's prices are still substantially lower than the competition.

    Nope. I'm not happy. Not rationalizing. Just being realistic.

    Quite frankly, I could give them a pass IF THIS INVOLVED ANY OTHER LABEL THAN SONY!

    For cryin out loud, eMusic, why did you have to go and pick the most anti-consumer media company to get in bed with??? First anyway...

     

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

  18.  
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    Tim B, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    CathyHN (Cathy Nevins) of emusic is LYING

    Cathy Nevins from emusic is LYING. There were two posts, from “Tweet” that formerly were in the comments log before 6/3/09. They contained the twitter tag #emusicfail, and a link to the search for #emusicfail, http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23emusicfail and some other short text encouraging people to use the tag on twitter so that there would be a place outside of emusic for discussion. BOTH of the posts from “Tweet” with this information, posted before 6/3/09, are GONE now.

    Regarding renumbering of posts, she is also full of **it. Yesterday, “Corporate Cop” posted comment #811 (note the number) identifying that the twitter tag censorship. It is now #813. This suggests at least two posts have been *ADDED* above the original post 811 (now 813). At any rate, POSTS ARE BEING RENUMBERED, and this has definitely happened in the last 18 or so hours.

     

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

  19.  
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    george, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    over the past four years, i've gladly shelled out over $1000 to this company. now i'm quitting. this is a huge disappointment. i hope their business gets killed by amazon and itunes. i'll be buying vinyl w/ digital download direct from the labels from now on.

     

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

  20.  
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    Call me disgusted, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    Now they are moderating comments, too:

    "Thank you. Your comment will be displayed as soon as it is approved by a moderator."

    Is what you get when you submit a post. This just started today, because I posted one short comment yesterday and it posted immediately without the moderation message.

    Also, it was documented pretty convincingly on the same thread of comments ( http://17dots.com/2009/05/31/more-of-the-good-stuff/ ) how posts have been removed and renumbered, because posts in which people refered to other posts by number are now OFFSET due to the removal of posts, and other people have noticed that their posts are no longer the same numbers too.

     

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

  21.  
    Lest anyone think that Sony BMG is anything other than an evil corporate piece of dogcrap, remember that Sony BMG, the very company that emusic is getting in bed with (or of which it may become a subsidiary, as some have speculated), started planting a hidden, self-installing and self-hiding spyware-malware virus on their music CDs in 2005. It violated laws in multiple jurisdictions, brought multiple lawsuits, and in the end Sony was forced to remove it from their CDs. The wikipedia page on the Sony BMG rootkit disaster is here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_CD_copy_protection_scandal

    It self-installed when you inserted a Sony BMG audio CD, just a regular music CD you'd buy at a record store, modified OS files and behavior to cover its tracks, was uninstallable (one of the legal violations in some jurisdictions), and worst of all, LEFT GIGANTIC SECURITY VULNERABILITIES ON YOUR COMPUTER. It was significant enough that the US Department of Homeland Security issued a directive about it (quote from wikipedia, reference URL below the quote):

    "On November 16, 2005, US-CERT, part of the United States Department of Homeland Security, issued an advisory"

    That directive is still in effect, and available here:

    http://www.us-cert.gov/current/archive/2005/11/17/archive.html#xcpdrm

    To me, the words that this sort of intentional malicious criminal behavior conjures up are "cyber terrorism." If not in intent, certainly in tactic.

    And these are the people that emusic is forcibly raping their customer base on behalf of.

    emusic should BACK THE HELL OUT OF THIS DEAL!

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Danny Steinblows, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 3:57am

    eMusic still censoring, scared of WIKIPEDIA !

    Still censoring, just a little bit differently. There are things about Sony that eMusic does *NOT* want to appear in the nearly 1200 comments left about their deal with Sony. And it is the WIKIPEDIA page on the Sony BMG CD rootkit virus that they are frightened of. In ADVANCE. They sideline any post that contains the URL and send it to be approved by a moderator. Then the post never appears. All other posts do not trigger the "moderation".

    Here is comment #1164 on the 17dots epic-long subscriber outrage page:

    http://17dots.com/2009/05/31/more-of-the-good-stuff/#comment-96054


    Reproduced here:
    ---------------------------------------
    1164 EmuDoesNot WantYouToKnow on Jun 8th, 2009 said:

    Dubdance is right in comment number 1163. The Sony BMG CD 2005 affair was in every sense of the word a damn V - I - RR - UU - SS. But guess what? eMusic doesn’t want you to know about it. I guess it frightens them. Just like the tag they tried to keep out of this discussion before getting busted deleting comments.

    TRY POSTING THE WIKIPEDIA URL FOR THE 2005 SONY BMG CD FIASCO HERE. Just search for it on WikiP - when you get a page that talks about things silently installing on machines from CDs and legal actions and re calls in 2005, you’re there. Then try posting that URL here. Boom. After passing captcha, your message gets sent for approval instead of posting. Then it NEVER APPEARS. Really.

    Go ahead, try it and then post your experience here. Until they remove the URL from their mod er a tion filter, it won’t appear (or maybe this will embarrass them and they’ll do it pre-emptively, which would be fine because it would defeat their attempt to keep it out).

    This is pre-meditated. They knew that most people had forgotten about what their new partner had done in 2005 even though it made national news broadcasts in many contries, how indescribably anti-music-fan their actions were, and they definitely did not want it to be brought up here.

    It is also interesting that the wik article was edited on 30 May of this year. Very interesting.
    ---------------------------------------

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Honeycut, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    Sayonara emusic

    I've been a happy emusic customer for a couple of years. I just cancelled my account.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    robert Gillespie, Jun 20th, 2009 @ 5:39am

    emusic censorship of message boards

    Check out the emusic Please Read: A New Question & Suggestion... thread. My post has been removed. My post (rfgilles) is listed as the 5th post in the topic outline yet it isn't there anymore. Some of the Cathy's post aren't there as well.

     

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

  25.  
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    Music Lover (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Deleted Comments

    I posted on 17 dots and the post was there the next day but vanished later that day. I had suggested that eMusic could have taken a different approach using a flexible pricing model that would have allowed the Indies to determine what they wanted to charge per track. I think I noted that Sony might not like competing with lower prices, but that if eMusic partnered with the Indies and shared data for analytics the Indies could adjust their prices to increase sales and overall revenue.

    Anyway, my post disappeared. I don't think it was deleted intentionally. However, on other issues, eMusic has been less than truthful and it is possible that they are not being truthful here.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    Music Lover (profile), Jun 20th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Deleted Comments

    I posted on 17 dots and the post was there the next day but vanished later that day. I had suggested that eMusic could have taken a different approach using a flexible pricing model that would have allowed the Indies to determine what they wanted to charge per track. I think I noted that Sony might not like competing with lower prices, but that if eMusic partnered with the Indies and shared data for analytics the Indies could adjust their prices to increase sales and overall revenue.

    Anyway, my post disappeared. I don't think it was deleted intentionally. However, on other issues, eMusic has been less than truthful and it is possible that they are not being truthful here.

     

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


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