Music Business

eMusic Drops Subscriber Paywall, Hopes For Renaissance

image from media.marketwire.comeMusic has dropped it's paid subscription requirement to allow anyone to purchase tracks and albums ala cart at it's online store. With some discounting of older releases, most music is priced at or near the industry standard of $.99 per track, hit singles at $1.29 and full albuums for $9.99. Subscription plans that offer from 24 to 73 tracks monthly for $11.99 to $31.99 are also still available.

eMusic execs tipped the change at several recent music and tech conferences. Dropping the paywall is an attempt to bring new life to a brand launched in 1998 and loosing relevence as streaming music takes center stage. 

"A number of major players have already taken interest in eMusic's new business model, which is making the brand more flexible and easier to partner with than ever before," said eMusic CEO Adam Klein in a statement. "We are in talks with potential partners in the OEM market, and also with wireless and cable operators, as well as big box retailers."

eMusic has also invested in editorial curation and design in recent years; and maintains a subscriber base of hard core music fans. Their hope now is to attract a broader audience.

"For nearly 14 years, eMusic has been devoted to music collectors who support artists and labels by purchasing their albums," Klein said. "Although our focus on this audience hasn't changed, our new business model is more inclusive and invites everyone to engage with what eMusic offers: insightful editorial that we curate independent of our sales division, and personalized discovery technology that draws upon the diverse tastes of our unique eMusic community."

Readers: Will you buy tracks at the new eMusic?

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  1. I was a longtime eMusic subscriber who dropped it for Spotify about a year ago. If eMusic launched a streaming plan, I would strongly consider switching back due to their strong editorial/curation. I think there’s room in the streaming world for a service with a more artist-oriented focus. I’m just not interested in buying individual files anymore.

  2. Thanks to you both for your comments. I always thought indies were what made eMusic special. Sadly most fans don’t care what label its on and eMusic had to compromise to bring in the majors.

  3. They pretty much lost their core clientele when they switched from the cheap indie-label focused subscription model to an iTunes wannabe. I would be surprised they are around a year from now.

  4. The little indie they still have left is ok, but they need streaming badly. With no streaming options i’ll just use something else.

  5. Personally over the years I’ve probably used Emusic the most over other services. But as a musician, I still get over twice as many sales from iTunes, with Amazon coming in second. As someone who really likes Emusic and has subscribed for years I think it would be great if this gives them a boost, but I think it could be a bit late as streaming takes hold. As was mentioned in a previous comment, if they don’t add a streaming option they may not only lose potential new users, but their current base could move on.

  6. With various purchase options available through a few keystrokes on any browser, what’s made eMusic attractive to me over the years has been their pricing. I’ve purchased 98% of my music through eMusic. Even going so far as to simply not buy music if it wasn’t on eMusic.
    If Emusic’s pricing becomes the same as iTunes and Amazon, then my incentive for using them disappears. Furthermore, their website is pretty buggy and surprising slow at times. If you take away their reduced prices then shopping through Amazon or iTunes because preferable simply because of their interface.

  7. I’ve been an eMusic subscriber for years and have used it exclusively for my music purchases. The main draw for me has been the price and the ability to find new music easily, but if they’re now going to charge the same as everyone else, what’s the point. I hope this move draws them some new customers, but it’s going to lose them some long-time users like me.

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