eMusic Sold, Gives Up On Unlimited Downloads

from the make-life-worse-for-customers dept

I’ve been surprised that in all the various discussions about online music business models, very few people spoke about eMusic. They seemed to be about the only “major” online music service that actually offered MP3s without copy protection – and even offered up a nice unlimited download plan. Everyone I know who used eMusic said it was a wonderful way to find out about new artists, and to see what albums to buy and what concerts to attend. Not any more. Found over at Slashdot is this news that eMusic, after being sold, is changing the terms of their service from “unlimited” to “40 downloads/month”. That’s a pretty low cap if you’re using eMusic to explore and find new songs. Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that they’re getting rid of the MP3 format in favor of some crippled copy protected format. Another situation where a company thinks that they can now charge people more for offering something that’s less valuable.

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Comments on “eMusic Sold, Gives Up On Unlimited Downloads”

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musicman says:

Re: Bye Bye eMusic

It is a shame – emusic had the most fabulous selection of stuff. Not mainstream of course, but if you like blues and Jazz and folk it is/was great. (they have rock and reggae etc as welll of course – I just haven’t looked at it much). There is stuff on there that will never appear on CD simply because the demand is not there.

I am deeply torn as to whether to dump them or not – 40 downloads a month is way too low, but access to their catalogue is pretty worthwhile too. I ought to ditch them to show them a lesson in customer realtions (they have closed down their message boards…) but is it cutting off noses etc. Hard to say

Gene Hoffman (user link) says:

Re: Re: Bye Bye eMusic

I started EMusic.

You can argue that the price is too high/downloads are too low, but it is hard to argue that it is wrong to charge. The flipside of compulsory licensing is that publishers are paid a regulated price of about $0.06 per song. If people downloaded more than 166 songs per month at $10, all of the money went to the publishers and none was left for the artist/label or EMusic.

I often see compulsory licensing talked about here as a potential good thing. This is the downside.

I can’t vouch for all outcomes at EMusic, but the only reason that EMusic has a real business to set prices against is because it offers music in real MP3. None of the existing EMusic staff will work for EMusic if copy protection is implemented because that actually would kill the business.

I personally think the price is too high/download limits are too low, but I don’t run the show there anymore. I would suspect that they will re-asses depending on how it impacts new customer sign ups and existing customer retentions. My guys who are still there have always been flexible and open to change.


LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Re: Bye Bye eMusic

If people downloaded more than 166 songs per month at $10, all of the money went to the publishers and none was left for the artist/label or EMusic.

And how is this a change from the Current CD infrastructure? After all, the labels charge $15-20 a CD, and the artists are lucky enough if they get $0.06 per song…

Unfortunately, the artists are screwed by compulsory licenses as much as they are screwed by the current RIAA-backed scheme. However, the ones I am now buying (since I stopped buying CDs from the majors,) are the ones in which the artist receives all or most of the profits, such as the ones sold directly from the artists’ website by the artist or from CD-Baby or other independent labels who give a majority if not all of the profit to the artist (and most give “demo CDs” for new and up-in-coming bands, and allow you to download mp3s from their websites so that you can listen before you buy.)

Of course, this has also turned me on to new, better music such as Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Govt Mule, Phish, etc.. So I guess it is better for me too.

mouser says:

Re: Bye Bye eMusic

I have been an EMusic member for over 2 years now and the service was incredible value. unfortunately it couldn’t last with the model they had where up to 2000 tracks could be downloaded a month before being pulled up for excessive downloading. Even if there are 20 tracks per album, thats still 100 albums of music per month! This was far to high and this was taken advantage of by many but to change to 40 is going too far the other way and regretfully I am going to cancel. RIP E music, it was great while it lasted.

Lambik says:

Re: Re: Bye Bye eMusic

Emusic was a grand experiment that couldn’t last. I knew that the day I signed on. For the paltry sum of $135 in subscription fees, it allowed me to build an album collection worth almost $14,000, based on a CD equivalent of a modest $10 per. Even if emusic were making money, music industry capitalists couldn’t allow such a consumer bonanza to continue. Ten cents an album?!!!?!!

Thank you emusic for the endless hours of browsing and downloading that have sparked the neophyte musicologist in me. Wish I’d discovered you two years sooner.

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