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I have to say, guys, that I have less of a problem with eMusic than I do with Napster and Rhapsody ... and their ilk. I'm a CDBaby-distributed artist and we do OK out of eMusic (though they pale next to iTunes). But 0.009c per listen? That's just pathetic - doesn't even come close to the benefit we get from lower sales in other, higher-priced, stores.

At least eMusic is trying something different and is on the up ...

Lil Mike

I am a fan of eMusic and their lower cost DRM Free indie alternative. In fact excuse my rambling early morning post but I've been trolling their site all night digging in the digital crates.

I am not an artist, and can forgive them many of their shortcomings based on the value of what i receive each month. Last night I scored some amazing early Roger Troutman tracks, as well as music by Bad Brains, Vince Neil, James Chance, The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson, Angelique Kidjo w/ Joss stone, Blondie, and Howard Tate. All for less than I would've spent on a just a few downloads with the backdated options guy in the turtleneck in Cupertino.

Most people in music that I know have never received much in the way of royalties from their record companies regardless of business models, and holding eMusic accountable for not generating tons of dough for indie artists hungry for exposure is a bit hypocritical. Hell peter Noone of Herman's Hermits just wrote into Bob Lefsetz last week that he'd never seen a label royalty statement in decades making music.

If anything eMusic allows those in control of the masters to track the downloads, make revenue off out of print tracks, and potentially expose millions to tunes that radio and television are never going to.

Basically, I doubt anybody but the Eagles & other superstar acts are making much off their individual songs on sale at Wal Mart, if they are even in Wal Mart.

Personally, I feel like a download is definitely worth less than a dollar, and eMusic's pricing levels agreee with me. Downloads elsewhere priced $1 or more per song, seem silly to me, since I get no packaging, and many albums I want are often to be had used anyway for as low as $2 - and often new in the $10 range at most stores or online sites if I want them.

I am not going to pay over $10 to download something that could be had in hard copy form for less, or perhaps even accidentally deleted. eMusic kindly offers me the option of re-downloading anything I've previously purchased if I do delete...now that's a good value. At least from a consumer standpoint.

I have to agree with those surveyed that were it not for eMusic, I'd less likely delve into deep catalog or foreign releases, and probably still be downloading the majority of my new music "illicitly" via p2p or what have you.

As for the royalties being low...

Artists are not required to put songs on Emusic, and can remain I-Tunes only if they so choose to make that extra few cents a track.

My only hope for eMusic would be that they are able to provide even better & deeper catalog. When Rykodisc was purchased last year by Warners, it left & hurt the perception of quality in eMusic's selection big time. eMusic could use some major label "special products" division type stuff, if not the major current "pop" releases.

I just wish EMI would be willing to give eMusic a shot, or at least set up a similar DRM Free environment with flexible pricing considering the vast amount of music that will likely never ever see the light of day due to high cost of reissuing it on CDs.

Bruce Houghton

You make some great points from an consumer point of view - a P.O.V that is too often forgotten. But I still worry that the pennies left over after fees and songwriter royalties is not enough to pay acts properly or to run a label.


I have been a subscriber of Emusic for probably 5 years now. Recently I recieved an email with an offer to upgrade to a "Connoisseur Account". I took advantage of the offer. Each month I spend $74.99 for 300 downloads. I would guess that I'm an above average user of the service. I think for someone to commit to a $75 a month subscription plan for music at a time when gas is over $3 a gallon says alot about my intentions to support the artists. I guess I do have a little bit of disposable income and for that I guess I am lucky. Music means alot to me and always has and I'd much rather support independent artists then mainstream artists. I've been reading up a little bit on the payout from Emusic and it started to make me question whether as a consumer I was doing the right thing by supporting the artists with an account on Emusic. It's unfortunate that I'm not able to really get a good idea of how the money I pay Emusic for the artists music translates into monetary compensation for the artists themselves. I'd feel much better knowing that my account helps them and so this whole issue has raised a moral dilemna for me. I have to believe that an account on Emusic is better then me stealing it on a file sharing program, I don't think anyone could argue with that. One things never changed and that is the fact that I've always used my purchasing power to support the artists I love. Currently Emusic is just one of the many ways I get music. I buy alot directly from the artists, buy cd's and vinyl from distros and labels, Ebay, Gemm, Musicstack, Amazon, etc... I made a decision personally to go totally digital about 3 years ago. There were many reasons, but a major one was portability. I have alot of vinyl and you certainly can't listen to vinyl in your car. I have a 1 Terabyte Lacie Harddrive about half full right now. That's between my entire cd collection I ripped to MP3 and then sold, the vinyl I'm slowly ripping now, and all of the digital downloads I've purchased over the last 5 or so years. In my opinion, Emusic could improve in some areas and I have a few small gripes but overall I'm completely satisfied by their service and have been since the first time I heard about Emusic. I feel a little bit uneasy with the fact that I don't know how the money I'm spending on the service is affecting the artists I love though. The minute I see Dischord Records pull out, I'll probably be gone too. I use them as a gauge because they're probably the label I respect the most above all others. They've been hanging in there so far. I'm thinking of writing a few of the labels I love and asking what is the impact of my buying music through Emusic on them. Is it hurting, helping or just staying static? I've tried Itunes and sometimes Itunes is ok, but for the most part, Itunes is the one Apple product I'm just not completely head over heels in love with. I'm huge on Apple products and swear by Apple, so that says alot. Sometimes I'll use Audiolunchbox which is ok I guess. At the end of the day, while not perfect, Emusic has the widest range of stuff I'm looking for and like. I'm a loyal consumer but when it comes to this issue, I know in my mind if I find that the artists I'm trying to support aren't benefiting from my consumerism, I'll have a moral obligation to pull out. I've never been on the artist side of the coin and sometimes I wish I could be so I could see what's happening to them in terms of this whole digital thing. I do wonder if other consumers have the same take on the issue that I do. I'm sure lowest cost is probably most consumers deciding factor. On a related note, I started one of those blog thingies (http://mogwaione.blogspot.com/), because I just thought it would be kinda fun to share some memories of bands that are important to me. I have direct links to avenues where the music can be purchased any time they are available. Since I'm linking to both Emusic and Itunes, it makes me that much more curious exactly how this affects the artists I love. Anyway, I just thought I'd add my two cents to this debate.

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