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EMusic Acquired, Halting Unlimited Downloads

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the pray-i-do-not-alter-it-any-further dept.

Music 379

wallabywatson writes " have announced that they are cancelling their $9.99 a month unlimited download service after being acquired by Dimensional Associates LLC. Instead, subscribers will be limited to 40 downloads (ie 3ish albums) per month. A new premium $50 a month service will allow 300 tracks (~25 albums). The service details have been released as have new terms and conditions. If, like me, you think this sucks and want to cancel your subscription go here before November 8, 2003."

cancel ×


www.fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171129)


NOOOO! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171133)

That's little better than actually buying music!


Link... (5, Informative)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171140)

The link provided is to UPGRADE your account, not delete it. Someone get a real deletion link.

Re:Link... (-1, Offtopic)

kasperd (592156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171218)

Who the hell moderated the parent overrated? Moderators get serious and moderate the parent informative!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171331)

Shut up already. Why do I have to keep reading posts that say "mod this" and "mod that." Let the moderators do their work in the background, they don't need direction, it just adds to the noise.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171412)

Oh yeah...because they're so fucking good at their job.

Re:Link... (1)

trippcook (529339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171226)

I was going to point this out too. Make sure you read what you're doing! No one wants to up their subscription accidentally.

Piracy (1)

mrcutrer (265376) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171141)

The simple fact is, they will never be able to stop it unless they stop selling the product. Surrender, sometimes that's your only option.

It sucks anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171142)

It sucked anyway, since it means you could go for months where there was no good music to get and still pay $9.99.

Now, if they changed it to a 50 cent per song charge, no extras payments, that would be killer.

Re:It sucks anyway (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171227)

If you subscribe to the $9.99 plan and max it out monthly you're getting tracks for 25 cents. Not bad, but nothing like what we were getting.

My year was just about up, and I've got some pretty cool stuff. But I just don't know if it's worth it. Their $50 "olive branch" to subscribers certainly isn't.

Re:It sucks anyway (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171295)

That would be fair and reasonable. Trouble is, they charge you for those 40 downloads, whether you downlaod them or not. Sounds a little unfair.

Re:It sucks anyway (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171449)

kinda like those cable companys that charge you even if you arnt downloading 24/7 at full speed or watching TV 24/7

Re:It sucks anyway (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171514)

Yes, but they do offer me unlimited TV for a month, or unlimited cable access. They aren't going to shut it off if I watch more than a certain number of shows, or download more than a certain number of megabytes.

Re:It sucks anyway (2, Interesting)

archen (447353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171359)

you're getting tracks for 25 cents

In that context perhaps it isn't that bad. Although now I feel like I'm waisting a quarter every time I download and will feel Obligated to download 40 a month reguardless of if I want them or not. Maybe I'll wait it out for a month or so and see if I have problems with the cap. The main issue for me is that I'm a binge downloader. I might download 100 songs in a month, then nothing for 3 months. Now I'm probably just going to end up pissed off that I can't download something. Is that worth flushing $100+ down the toilet per year? Hard to say.

Re:It sucks anyway (-1)

undernourished (413122) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171478)

I've heard enough 50 cent for a lifetime - I don't want him on every song!

I agree (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171145)

By the way - When will /. offer a subscription with an unlimited number of pages?

Re:I agree (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171357)

I was so busy laughing up chocolate milk through my nose that it took me a few seconds to realise that I wasn't even drinking chocolate milk.

Re:I agree (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171429)

They already have a free one, but you have to use mozilla/phoenix prefs.js + usercontent.css as your browser :)

Ouch... (1)

Androgynous Coward (13443) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171147)

I have been an eMusic subscriber for almost a year now. Going to download some Bill Evans and cancel my acct this month. Sad thing is that I probably average 3 albums a month but I go some months w/o downloading at all. Oh, well...

Don't go "there" (4, Informative)

hrbrmstr (324215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171148)

The "go here" URL takes you to the upgrade account page.

Just login to EMusic and stop your subscription if you want to cancel. I just did.

Darnit, no more all I can download cheesy sound effects MP3's...

Such a shame (1, Interesting)

yeschat (471800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171164)

This really does suck. If they could not afford to keep up the unlimited downloads, they should not have offered them from the start. I already canceled. It really kind of hurts to be honest. E-music was a example of how indie labels could work with selling music online via mp3. Now that is ruined.

I can't believe that anyone subscribing now won't cancel. I really have to wonder where they came up with this pricing plan. Oh well. Let's hope another good place like emusic comes around. Sad.

Re:Such a shame (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171442)

Of course, E-music has bills to pay, and it really sucks when your target market prefers to use free, unlimited P2P networks. I'd say this is another great idea that was destroyed by P2P filesharing.

Takeover Unwelcome (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171167)

I for one despise our new overpriced music overlords.

The old bait and switch! (-1, Offtopic)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171177)

I hope microsoft doesn't learn anything from this... I can see it now...

$89 for Windows 2006... 2 week later Windows 2006 will no longer be able to connect to the internet for more than 30 minutes, if you want more internet access please buy the $59 upgrade... ;)

Re:The old bait and switch! (2, Insightful)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171222)

YES! MICROSOFT! +30943047)&$&097340734 EXCELLENT

You do not deserve instant karma for simply turning every negative concept and applying it to Microsoft. Of course they're not going to start charging timed licenses for their OS. It's not clever, and it's not funny. Stop cheating at life and think of something clever to say.

Re:The old bait and switch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171258)

> Stop cheating at life and think of something clever to say.

I for one welcome our new clever, non-cheating overlords....... ;-)

Re:The old bait and switch! (0)

ideatrack (702667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171337)

In Soviet Russia, life cheats you!

Oh wait that applies everywhere...

Re:The old bait and switch! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171296)

Thanks for the CD key.

Hey lamer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171360)

Life does not revolve already karma.

It was too good to last. (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171180)

I wonder if their catalog will be changing/expanding.

If not...bye bye emusic. It was nice knowing ya.

Re:It was too good to last. (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171406)

I certainly hope so. Under their new pricing plan, some of the music I've grabbed recently I'd get cheaper at a used CD store.

(Yes, we still have one or two of those around.) :-)

instant responce (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171183)

I got their email. Ten minutes later I cancled my account.

Make sure to download as much as you can now! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171185)

Before you cancel your account! :D

It's not that bad (5, Insightful)

lazyl (619939) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171195)

It's not nearly as good as it used to be, but it's not bad. It's way cheaper than buying music in the store. Everyone is always saying that if CD's were $5 that they'd buy them all the time; well, here they are less than $5 so what's the problem?

Re:It's not that bad (4, Insightful)

VertigoAce (257771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171271)

The thing is, they aren't CD's for that price. They're mp3 files which are worth less than the CD tracks themselves. With a CD I can re-rip the tracks if a better music format comes along.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171528)

Depends upon the ear of the listener.
Yes, I know plenty of people who scoff at anything less than 198kbps encoding, saying "why not just listen to your music through a tinny radio shack speaker that you've slit up with a razor blade!?!?!"

But I for one find 120kbps perfectly acceptable.
So for 5 bucks, it might be worth it for me, because they are close enough.

Also your other point of re-ripping. With an MP3, I can convert it to an AA3, and vice versa using any number of converters- no need for an interim step. However, I could always convert to wav, THEN to my desired format. Infact, its more of a pain in the neck to re-rip cd's (insert, click, wait, eject, repeat) than to point a converter at a folder and say "please convert all 9,000 of these files. I'm going to bed."

Also, whats to say my cd's will last that long? I have plenty of CDs I can't rip, thanks to oxidation. At least with a digital format I can make multiple copies and spread my risk of loss out amongst a few MTBFs as opposed to One.
So that point is fruitless.

Re:It's not that bad (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171315)

They were lying when they said that the would pay for music if it was about 1/3 of the price.

Re:It's not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171347)

Are you getting a CD for that price or are you getting a CD's worth of files that are in a compressed/degraded format?

Re:It's not that bad (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171476)

Most people are not familiar with 95% of artists on EMusic. These are not bands that get radio time (with some exceptions). That means you don't know what you're getting until you download a track or two, and 40 tracks / month ain't much for that. I imagine previews don't count, but 20 seconds of low-quality audio isn't the same - and that's IF there are previews of more than the best 2 or 3 tracks on the album.

I don't know ho emusic was doing before, but it will be interesting to see whether downgrading the service really improves their business.

Re:It's not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171495)

Emusic tends to mostly have unknown/small bands - the best way to use it tends to be to try LOTS of music and pick which ones you like. How are you supposed to try a variety of music while being limited to three albums?

Re:It's not that bad (1) (450073) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171553)

so what's the problem?

crappy quality mp3's

Should I go on?

bad news (5, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171197)

40 downloads? That's a joke right? The main reason I even subscribed in the first place is so I could just browse around and FIND music I liked. And no, Kazaa dos not make music (ie music you've never heard) easy to find, it only finds things that you already want. At a mere 40 I doubt I'll find much of anything. Hell by the time I did find an artist I liked I'd probably be at my cap anyway. It's really sad considering how much I've been preaching about and now it's been completely fucked up.

Re:bad news (1)

Androgynous Coward (13443) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171291)

Agree! I download albums to try different music out. I sometimes delete them after one listening if I do not like them or, if I find I like it, I download more. I am not an abuser in that I would download *everything* because I can. Sadly this model no longer serves my

Re:bad news (2, Interesting)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171550)

And no, Kazaa dos not make music (ie music you've never heard) easy to find, it only finds things that you already want.

I disagree. When looking for something, I often will look at other tracks from someone I am downloading from. Also different bands do covers. I'll download the covers or unknown stuff, and If I like what I hear, I'll buy their discs. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is a good example of a band I never heard of. I ended up buying 3 CDs from their website.

This really does suck (1)

ehiggins (35174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171200)

They're eliminating the one advantage they had over other music services - and the big advantage they had over meatspace music stores - the ability to sample as much as you want without worrying about running into any "limit".

Sorry, Emusic, I'll be downloading the rest of the albums I've selected and put in "my stash", and then canceling.

Earl in St. Louis

Hmm (1)

Ikn (712788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171206)

When it'd cost ~375 to go to a store and buy 25 albums, this is still a decent deal for those that have morals, although I think there other online services with better rates.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171358)

Then give me the uncompressed or .shn files if you want to increase the price of the service.
People are going to jump ship and emusic will close its doors because they are restricting their policies even further without increasing the value for the consumer.
It almost seems like the new company owning emusic doesn't want it to survive.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171460)

Yeah, but you're not *getting* an album from Emusic, you're getting compressed music files. Lower quality, no physical medium, no liner notes, etc.

Re:Hmm (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171500)

Unless you'd only download 50 or 60 songs (perhaps by groups you'd never heard of, just to try them out, and end up deleting 80% of them.

Suddenly the $10.00 price tag, which was only marginally worth it (if you kept an average of 10 to 15 songs per month), is not good enough.

So take all of "those that have morals" who were actually paying for music and are now cancelling. There's nothing immoral about it.

ITMS (2, Interesting)

Arkham (10779) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171207)

For people who download a lot of music, EMusic might have been a good deal before (not so much now). But for those of us who buy less than 10 songs a month, Apple's iTunes Music Store (ITMS) is a much better deal.

The rumors suggest that it will be out on Windows before the end of October. I'll play with it on my Windows box, but I'll still do all my purchasing on my Macs.

Re:ITMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171516)

Honestly, they're going to suffer a lot on their windows sales due to their arrogance towards the platform. I mean it's kind of like MSIE for macs, you just know it's a half assed port to get "everyone" using it. I feel even worse about apple's pathetically long delay getting their software over to windows, and if quicktime is any example, their iTunes player with come with half the mac os API library in the form of DLLs that the application loads. Not to mention linux users [which are actually about as numerous as mac users now], still will not be able to play the files. As for me, I'll look for a service/company who shows more concern about the platforms it supports.

Re:ITMS (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171533)

But aren't you still stuck with a DRM'ed format?

Not flame-baiting - a real question. Can I use those tunes on my DRM crippled Sony player? Or would I have to burn a CD (I believe I read you can do that) and then rip it with the bastardized Sony music software?

Yes, I know it's fault for buying these piece of garbage, right? Well, I won it as a door prize, so I'm not complaining about the crippling since it hasn't really affected me yet - until we get two opposing DRMed formats that won't work together. I think consumers may finally start revolting when this becomes more commonplace.

There's actually 3 plans (5, Informative)

media_Assassin (176375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171208)

For those who don't want to RTFA, there's actually two plans, plus a third for subscribers who signed up before 10-8-2003:

EMusic Basic: $9.99 per month/maximum 40 downloads
EMusic Plus: $14.99 per month/maximum 65 downloads

EMusic Premium: $50.00 per month/maximum 300 downloads*

*Only for members who signed up before October 8th, and only if you sign up for Premium by November 8th.

Re:There's actually 3 plans (1)

moojuece (661296) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171380)

you know as a long time emusic subscriber i was really pissed at reading this...especially being target to many of their 'your account has had excesive downloads....unlimited actually means we dont tell you the limit' emails....but i dont think these prices are unreasonable...i for one think i will simply upgrade to emusic plus and listen to the samples before downloading more often....i for on welcome our new trying to make money so their families can eat overlords

Re:There's actually 3 plans (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171555)

Are you suggesting that they weren't making enough money "so their families can eat" before?

EMusic Dead Pool (4, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171217)

Post your predictions when this company goes belly up. My guess is March 12, 2004.

Re:EMusic Dead Pool (4, Insightful)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171264)

Well, now they can make guaranteed payouts to rights holders; I'm not so sure this is a death knell. Probably an intense metamorphosis in subscriber base.

We've been saying it on the currently-dead message boards [] for months -- if all of Emusic's subscribers downloaded as much as we did, they'd expire overnight, taking in less than a penny per track.

It was only a matter of time before they had to revamp their pricing structure. I just didn't expect so drastic of a change.

Re:EMusic Dead Pool (1)

cjpez (148000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171532)

Yeah, absolutely. During my three-month stint with Emusic some time ago, I got a staggering amount of stuff. I got a couple of friends signed up for the service too, and it was great 'till one of them got unceremoniously kicked off for downloading too much. Now, I understand that they were probably losing money off of us, but I was really curious why they didn't just, you know, limit his downloads or something, rather than just dropping his account without any prior warning. I figured that eventually they'd wise up and drop the "unlimited downloads" thing and put some reasonable limits, but forty songs? As I mentioned in another post, what happens if you want to download a Gore Beyond Necropsy [] album? You're totally SOL, that's what.

Re:EMusic Dead Pool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171455)

November 9, 2003.

Tell me how this works... (1)

gnovos (447128) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171237)

So, lets just work this out in our heads... how does this end up earning money for them? They won't be getting any NEW subscibers, right? (Nobody I know was saying, "Man, i'd love to sign up for that service, but darn it, it's just not nearly limited enough!")

And it's not like there are no alternatives where unlimited music downloads are available, right?

Right now thier customers are those people who are kind enough to give them a break and not go and download thier songs from kazaa. How does kind of action help them at all?

Re:Tell me how this works... (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171489)

>how does this end up earning money for them?

Pyramaths. You just need to keep squeezing. Here's how it works.

You crank your prices by 5%. For one month, you're making 105% of what you were making before.

At the end of the month, 10% of your customers leave. No problem, you crank your prices by another 10%, to 115.5% of your original price. With 90% of the customers, you still make 103.95% of what you were making before you started squeezing.

The next month, another 10% of your customers leave. Can you guess what your response is? Yes, squeeze the remainder.

It sounds insane, but as long as you have one paying customer, you can keep squeezing and squeezing and making more money that you were before.

Unfortunately for EMusic, this model is pretty much predicated on you being able to lock your customers in with proprietary incompatible products, or on them having Federal size budget and being unwilling to admit that they're getting buttfucked. See Microsoft's licensing schemes that (shock!) always seem to cost you more after each revision, and Windows for Warfare on Navy boats. Also see music sellers - sorry, lenders - that give you encrypted DRM crippled data and a revokable license to decrypt it. If you're giving those people money, be prepared to do so for the rest of your life.

But EMusic... well, people are going to leave there pretty fast, which is going to accelerate the price squeeze. You don't want to be their last customer, because he's really going to catch it in the shorts.

Cancel subscription link (5, Informative)

no_demons (602587) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171259)

The word is out! I'm sure you'll all get this eventually - but here is the full text of today's email announcement. To cut to the chase and cancel your account, the link is:

Cancel link []


Dear EMusic Subscriber,

Over the past several years, EMusic has stood alone in its commitment to providing digital music consumers a service that offers flexibility and portability. We remain the ONLY service offering downloads in the standard MP3 format.

We are also unique in our focus on music from the leading independent labels. Unlike other services, we understand that many music consumers want to go beyond the Billboard charts. We remain firmly committed to continuing to provide avid music fans an alternative to the mainstream.

The digital music industry continues to change rapidly, and EMusic also continues to evolve. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of a number of important changes that will affect EMusic Subscribers.

First, we are pleased to inform you that Inc. is being acquired by Dimensional Associates LLC ("Dimensional"), a private equity group focused on providing innovative online music distribution services. Dimensional shares EMusic's consumer focused philosophy of providing low cost, convenient access to great music. Dimensional plans to continue enhancing the EMusic service with new features and content and you can look forward to hearing more once the acquisition has been completed.

Although our current privacy policy remains in effect,, when the acquisition is completed, EMusic's privacy policy will be changing to reflect Dimensional's ownership and your Personal Information (as defined in the privacy policy) will be transferred to Dimensional. Please take a few moments to review this our new policy which will take effect around
October 30, 2003. html

As always, EMusic is firmly committed to consumer privacy and we believe the new policy continues to reinforce this.

As an avid digital music fan, you are also aware that the music industry continues to suffer under intense financial, legal and technological pressure. As a provider of music downloads, EMusic is subject to a complex system of intellectual property rights and technological challenges that impose high costs and often uncertain risks on the company.

In order to respond to these ongoing challenges and maintain a compelling service for our valued customers, EMusic will be making a number of significant changes in the coming weeks and months. As part of these changes, we will be discontinuing the unlimited service plan and replacing it with a new service offering.

Unless you visit the link below: &categoryID=1198 and notify us of your intention to cancel your subscription prior to November 8, 2003, your EMusic subscription will convert into EMusic Basic. Under EMusic Basic, you will be billed $9.99 per month for access to the service with no minimum monthly commitment, but you will be limited to no more than 40 downloads during your monthly billing cycle.

In addition, EMusic is pleased to present a special, limited time offer available exclusively to current subscribers - EMusic Premium. Designed for our most active subscribers, this plan allows you to download up to 300 tracks per month (approximately 25 albums) for a monthly charge of $50.00 - a price of just 16 cents per track - with no minimum monthly commitment.

If you are interested in registering for this subscription plan, you must complete the EMusic XL registration form no later than November 8, 2003. tep2&st=1&categoryID=1998

You will still have unparalleled access to the best MP3s available from independent music labels around the world. You will continue to have the ability to download this music, take it with you and play it wherever and however you like. And, over the next several months EMusic will be adding significant new labels, artists and releases as well as enhanced features. EMusic remains committed to providing the best MP3 service on the Internet. We continue to believe that EMusic is the best value available and like you, we are passionate about our music.

We believe that the changes we are making today will enable us to provide an even more compelling service.

To learn more about the new service offering, please go to and read our revised terms and conditions at which will be effective as of November 8, 2003. If, for any reason, you decide that you do not want to become a member of the EMusic services as described above, you may cancel at any time during the trial period.

As always, if you have a specific question about these changes or need additional help with your service, the following site will guide you through our customer service process.

Than k you for being an EMusic Subscriber.

Wallabywatson (sitting next to me) apologies for the duff link. : )

Well, EMusic was great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171262)

...unfortunately they've taken some serious turns for the worse this year... the change to a proprietary download manager was a real mess.

So I've taken the opportunity to download a good few thousand emp files and cancelled my subscription. I'm not sure whether this will let me download at will later on, but, hey, it's possible...

Probably going to stick with it for now (2, Interesting)

Hesperus (16733) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171263)

I read the email from emusic as soon as it had landed in my inbox, and the change did annoy me, especially the fact that they buried it 3/4ths of the way down, where presumably they thought folks weren't going to read it.

Still, I think I'm probably going to keep the subscription since I average about 3 albums a month anyhow. I just wish they would let unused downloads accrue.

The really annoying thing for me about Emusic is that I can't access certain albums from Europe, and I'm too lazy to change my billing info and set up a proxy server.

Money in the bank! (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171268)

From reading all the "I just unsubscribed" postings, it sounds like the only group that will come out of this ahead of the game are the people that just sold emusic..

Cancelling (1)

Erwin-42 (117944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171274)

I've been an eMusic subscriber for three years, and following these changes I've cancelled my account today.

eMusic was, I thought, a great concept: unlimited downloads, unrestricted MP3 files and a large selection of non-mainstream, but often interesting music.

They've recently started limiting their downloads and now, following the takeover by "Dimensional" officialy made my $10/month unlimited plan limited to 40 downloads per month. The $50/plan, 5 times as expensive allows download of only 300 songs.

For me, it's no longer worth it. There just hasn't been any interesting new albums on the site, not enough to warrant this huge increase in price.

Not so bad (1, Funny)

indros13 (531405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171281)

Big deal, no one will ever need more than (6)40 songs(K).


Alternative (1)

slide-rule (153968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171297)

People who missed the article about a week or so ago should check out I'm _not_ affiliated or anything, and it is a new-ish service (read: needs artists, but needs customers, but needs artists...), but as the artists retain copyright and share profits 50/50 with magnatune itself, and as you can pretty much name your own album price (well, $5 and up), it seems like it solves a lot of problems many /.'ers complain about w.r.t. digital music pay/download sites. I believe Wired has/had an article mentioning them a couple days ago or so, too.

As the site is somewhat newish, it does have one big kink that I've already reported; specifically, when I bought an album last week and accidentally closed the browser partway through d/l'ing the tracks, there wasn't any way to get back to that page w/o paying again. I got my songs anyway, but probably not in the way magnatune wanted me to. That aside, the site works well and feels rather clean... very refreshing.

Re:Alternative (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171472)

Shareware music, hmm.

You are on play number 10 of 200 and you have not yet paid for this music. Stand on your head and type "I AM A CHEAPSKATE" with your nose to play this music, or register your copy today!

That sucks... (1)

Capeman (589717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171301)

In my opinion this was the only good music subscription service, because you could download as many files as you wanted, for $9.99 a month and most of them where VBR mp3's, no WMA DRM protected crap. I was thinking this was the best way to get music legally, because they were constantly adding more record labels, but as we see things change, this will encourage more people to try p2p music sharing I think.

what about unlimited AM radio equiv downloads? (4, Interesting)

rjforster (2130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171302)

The problem is I don't know what I want. I already have every CD by every band that I know that I like. As I can tell from a 56kbit mono OGG file whether I like the music or not I can then either buy the album or not, my choice.

Small files. Fast downloads. Free advertising for the bands, rather than 'digital pillaging on the cyber-high-seas'. Lets you 'try before you buy'. etc etc.

That's what I want. I'll pay for it by buying more regular CDs if it recommends some good stuff to me.

There's something wrong with the pricing... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171326)

I might be offtopic because it doesn't seem to apply to this particular service, but this problem applies especially to stores like the Apple online music store. Songs are sold at 1$ a song. That seems pretty reasonable in the US, where an 12-13 songs album is sold 15-16US$.

(Of course you might want to say the price in kinda inflated compared to the price the music industry sells their CDs to the store. Especially if they sell it for 8$ and the middle man adds 9$ for shipping, paying it's workers, etc. But that's another debate. And if someone has numbers on this, I'd really be interrested.)

The catch is : these prices are good only in the United States as far as I'm concerned. Here in Canada, I usually pay 16 CANADIAN dollars for an album, including taxes (yeah, CD prices are THAT good in Canada, and at this price, they're not only Britney Spears CD. For example, I bought the "3 Days Grace" CD two weeks ago for 13CAN$, tax included. Excellent CD, worth every penny ). That's like 12US$. Now you see, for 12$ dollars, on Apples IMusic store, I can either buy 12 MP3 or whatever the format is of my favorite album (assuming I'm buying a whole album, and frankly, I've had the chance to buy excellent albums in the past where every song is worth the purchase), or for the same price, get the real CD with the lyrics booklet and the CD case. Which one do you think I'm going to buy, especially in the case of the 3 Days Grace CD I bought which cost me 13CAN$. I mean, if I bought it on the Apple music store, it would have cost me 12US$ (16CAN$) and I wouldn't even have the lyrics and CD case. Plus I'd be stuck with songs only playable by me.

Unless there's a Canadian version of these stores where songs are sold 75US cents (current exchange rate) or 1CAN$, I don't see how these companies are going to be really popular outside the US, or at least in Canada. I'm wondering at what price CD sells on other continents.

Still DRM-Free! (1)

Elbows (208758) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171335)

AFAIK it's still the only online music service without DRM. Not to mention Linux support (although it does taking a bit of work to get that set up).

That said, I tend to forget about it for months at a time, and then go and download 5 or 6 albums in a day. I was already at the point where the service was just barely worth it, and the new pricing structure just tipped the scales.

Emusic NOT an Unlimited Service (4, Insightful)

Uncle Dick (534747) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171336)

Despite repeated attempts to characterize it as such, Emusic has never been an unlimited download service. An arbitrary limit of 2000 songs per month was established on every account. Of course, Emusic never bothered to tell anyone about this limit until they actually went over, at which point their account was cancelled and money refunded.

With a business strategy like this, it's not hard to see why Emusic is being acquired. Unfortunately, it's hard to see how this new pricing structure will work any better with a music catalog that is decidedly obscure.

Re:Emusic NOT an Unlimited Service (1)

eskinner (714649) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171551)

Blame me. Protesting they had advertised an "unlimited" download service, I was nonetheless cancelled by several months ago against my wishes. My fat Internet pipe (1 Mbit, each way) allowed me to download a lot of music. Had advised me of a limit (such as the 2000 songs per month mentioned here), I would gladly have cut back my activities but, in their two emails to me before unilaterally terminating my subscription, they simply said I was downloading an "unreasonable" amount of music. Okay, so I like Jazz--a lot--and was building up a pretty good collection for my random MP3 selection player. Like many things in life, I guess I can only say, "It was good while it lasted."

Not such a bad deal (1)

SeXy_Red (550409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171346)

This is still cheaper that the $1 a track that apple's music download service. $9.99 for 40 tracks breaks down to roughly $.25 for a single song, which is still pretty cheap if you ask me.

Re:Not such a bad deal (1)

a.deity (665042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171515)

Of course, you have the choice on whether to pay that $1 whenever you want. If you're sure you want 480 songs in a year, then eMusic is for you. I buy a lot of music (I've spent over $100 at iTMS), but it's never guaranteed that I'll buy something in any given month. Plus, eMusic doesn't have all of what I want. They've got a lot, but iTMS is expanding, so, hopefully, they'll get some NOFX.

Lets do some math.... (2, Insightful)

RobertAG (176761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171348)

If I subscribe at the monthly rate $9.99, then over the course of a year, I'll pay $119.88 and download 480 songs.

If I opt for the $50/month subscription and CHOOSE to subscribe twice a year, every SIX months, then I'll pay only $100 and be able to download 600 songs. I can use the time lag to see if they can indeed add to their song catalog in the meantime and wait for something worth downloading (good music, good quality files, etc) to be added.

Not only that, but the time lag ALSO allows me to go elsewhere to their competitors (or to Newsgroups, overseas web/ftp sites, IRC for that matter).

Encouraging your revenue sources to go elsewhere away isn't a good idea, to say the least.

Re:Lets do some math.... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171507)

If I opt for the $50/month subscription and CHOOSE to subscribe twice a year, every SIX months, then I'll pay only $100 and be able to download 600 songs.
Can you even sign up for a month every six months? When I was a member there was a minimum term in the contract to prevent people from doing that.

Re:Lets do some math.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171512)

RTFA. You can only subscribe to the $50 plan ONCE, and before Nov 8. After that, no more $50 plan. So your little scheme sucks, and proves you're the retard we all thought you were.

Re:Lets do some math.... (4, Informative)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171519)

You can't do the $50 thing twice a year. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to subscribers that opened their accounts before October 8, and it's only good till November 8. You cancel it, it's toast.

As a current subscriber, I'm not so convinced it's the olive branch they intended it to be. Maybe at $25.

suckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171362)

Why would anyone pay for something like this? Don't they know that Kazaa still has unlimited downloads for free? better (certainly in principle) (0)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171365)

RIAA free music. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7171531)

Another RIAA-free website for music.

Well this is capitalism for you. (1)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171375)

Businesses strive to max out the revenue while minimizing the costs.
In theory this development is kept in check by competitor which offer cheaper and better serives which drain customers away.
In practice this is however very different. Very often customers are restricted in their right to choose or simply the competitors aren't there or adequate.
At this stage the goverment and the judicative come into play. They should protect the customers from unfair business practices pulling back the level of opportunity back to them.
Unfortunately we see in current goverment (Republican/Bush administration) and judicative a certain trend to restrict this pro customer regulations. The results are failing "don't call lists", country wide power shortage and Enron finance scandals.

Why is this so bad? (1)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171378)

I don't get it. Even the basic subscription is $9.99/40 tracks = $.25

That's a quarter per download. That's a better price than iTunes. I'm not up to speed on the particulars of both services (i.e., digital restrictions management, avilability inside/outside the US, etc), but they are company trying to make a profit.

Now, if they came in and said, "by subscribing to our service you agree to buy musix *only* from us," that would be a different story. As it stands, you are free to get music somewhere else if it suits you.

Re:Why is this so bad? (2, Insightful)

26199 (577806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171413)

The difference is that EMusic doesn't carry mainstream stuff; it's good music, but it simply isn't worth as much money.

Hmm. Time to change my sig...

Re:Why is this so bad? (3, Insightful)

Zigg (64962) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171544)

To bring you up to speed:

  • The format is MP3 and they say they're keeping it that way. So, no DRM. (That's why Emusic is the only non-CD PC format I get my music in; the CDs are only un-"protected" ones btw. I listen to my music my way, thankyouverymuch.)

  • They are available around the world but licensing agreements do require them to keep certain tracks available to i.e. North Americans only. Mostly foreign stuff that's supposedly selling well in foreign countries.

  • Finally, part of the reason Emusic is still cheaper is that their catalog is largely eclectic and indie stuff, with a sprinkling of "sampler" albums from a sprinkling of "popular" artists. That stuff goes cheaper, so it can be sold cheaper. I don't know how much this trend will continue.

  • I agree with you that they did need to change to be profitable. I just think they made too drastic of a change here.

Oh well (0)

NotoriousBob (700016) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171385)

It doesn't matter, Kazaa service is still unlimited downloads!

I don't care (0, Offtopic)

borgdows (599861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171399)

For unlimited downloads you can still go there [] .

Nice deadline (1)

neonstz (79215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171409)

It was nice of them to me the notice one month in advance. I will leech as much as I can before cancelling my account on November 7th.

Just Recently Cancelled (1)

jetkust (596906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171410)

I actually just cancelled my membership not long ago a bit before my 3 month subscription was up. After my 3 months was up, they pretty much ignored the cancellation and charged me for another month. I had to contact customer support again to get it removed.

on and IUMA it's free! (1)

rjnagle (122374) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171414)

Well, I can't figure out why people are looking at pay services (except for backlists of singers).

Vivendi's and have hundreds of thousands of free mp3's. You can use iRATE radio [] to discovery all sorts of free legal mp3's.

You can find out about the best free mp3's at gods of music [] among other places.

My essay [] gives more information about how to find out about legal mp3's and legal ways to share the music.

The big question is when vivendi will start charging money for If they do, then either singers will host their music elsewhere, or else cause vivendi to sell this music or music subscriptions at a reasonable price.

With the recent acquisition by NBC of Universal/Vivendi, my guess is that there will be more pressure for vivendi to squeeze money out of

Man... (1)

cjpez (148000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171419)

... I was just planning on signing up again to get some things I missed the last time I signed on.

Then again, I shouldn't complain seeing as though I used my $15/month subscription to download about 40GB of music over the course of three months, so I guess I got my money's worth. :P

Forty downloads though? What if you want to download a Gore Beyond Necropsy [] album? Seems you wouldn't be getting your money's worth at all. You'd blow all 40 songs on part of one album and end up with less than an hour of music.

Too Bad (1)

jadbalja (106780) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171424)

I really liked emusic and recommended it to a lot of people, but as others have noted, this change takes away the best thing about them: the ability to download albums by people you've never heard of before and give them a try. With a limit of 3 CDs worth of music per month, I would only want to download sure things rather than taking risks, at which point I'd be happier buying the CD used.

Oh well. I'll just download as much as I can in the next couple of weeks and then cancel, as I'm sure a large percentage of their current customers will.


TheHornedOne (50252) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171428)

WOONSOCKET, RI: In other news, users of popular peer-to-peer file-swapping networks like Kazaa, Bearshare, and Gnutella were shocked on Thursday by the announcement that these networks would also cease to provide unlimited downloads. "I'm going to go rob a record store" said Ken Schnizzle, bassist for the local Nirvana tribute band 'Seeping Brain Tissue', "because that's about the only way I can get unlimited music now!"

Sad, sad day (1)

Xthlc (20317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171432)

I've been an EMusic subscriber for a couple years now, and have been an avid fan of their service the entire time. For me, the ENTIRE POINT of EMusic (over and above the iTunes store) was being able to try out new music without any penalty. I could download what I wanted, and if it sucked I could delete it without feeling remorse over wasting (money | download credits | whatever). Given the fact that EMusic's catalog consisted mostly of independent / unknown bands, this was a critically important aspect of their service.

EMusic was the means by which I discovered dozens of new bands to love. For that, I owe them thanks. But for the clueless greedy scum that have bought them, I have nothing but scorn. They can shove their download quotas and their ridiculously overpriced subscription plans. Subscription CANCELED.

A bit of a rough ride ahead for them I'm afraid (1)

Nijika (525558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171437)

iTunes for Windows is about to hit the market pretty soon, and while the price per track is higher, Joe Public will be paying PER TRACK or PER ALBUM, and you know what you're getting. The feeling of a shrink-wrapped package is still there. Downloading mp3's is still sketchy, how do you prove ownership in this age where the RIAA can swoop down on you at any time and snatch your grandmother's retirement or something.

I applaud the vision behind Emusic's business model, but it's wacky and unsustainable in that ugly dot-com sorta that's all too familiar. Anyone else ask themselves how they were sustaining UNLIMITED downloads for $9.99? If you have to ask that question, you're probably right in being perplexed. As far as I know bandwidth still costs money. Compare it to a gas station offering unlimited gas for $50 a month.

NOOOOOO!!! (2, Insightful)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171452)

This is the worst news of the week. EMusic was the site I pointed everyone to to say, "look, there is a service offering high-quality, no-DRM restricted mp3s with unlimited downloading for a (more than) fair price." The unlimited downloading is the ENTIRE POINT of EMusic. This gives you the freedom to discover new artists without fear of being charged for it. This more than made up for the fact that they didn't have major bands, as the had an entire system in place for music discovery (their My List feature was ingenious). Where else would I have found Reggie and the Full Effect, or St. Thomas? Arrrrggghhh! I'm so mad I could go on, but I have to go download as much as possible right now!

Just my luck... (1)

rnocera (245966) | more than 10 years ago | (#7171518)

Of course I just joined again a week ago. I had joined a couple years ago, then didn't renew after a year, but after hearing that they upgraded to 192kps I thought I'd see what they had and decided to join again.

My first reaction was to immediately cancel, but the truth is, the price is still better than buying the cd's assuming that they continue to have albums I want.

The sad thing is that with unlimited downloads, E-music was a great way to experiment with bands I had never listened to before, now I'll have to be more selective in what I download.

If they expand their catalog, I'll keep my subscription, if not I'll cancel it. The new plan doesn't require a monthly commitment, so maybe I'll just cancel after I've downloaded what I want, then wait until they get new stuff I want before joining again.

If they get rid of being able to see everything they have before joining, I won't be going back.

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