Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dogs and cats living together!

You can't quite miss it:
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR MEMBERS! In November 2010, eMusic paves the way for more music with a new pricing system.
Oh no they didn't!
Well... no, they didn't. At least, not for European subscribers. They're shifting from "today’s credit-per-track system to monetary pricing", which means that instead of 1 track costing 1 credit, 1 track will cost €0.49. But seeing as I'm currently paying much less than that, eMusic will basically fund the difference. Jolly nice of them. And this will continue for the foreseeable future, until the day when eMusic can give us Europeans some unspecified amount of music that we don't yet have access to, at which point we will see "variable pricing", which is another way of saying "more than €0.49 per track".
I can live with this, very happily; I was expecting a price hike. The "bonus" money they're adding to my subscriptions is greater than the cost of those subscriptions, and when they put it in real terms like that, it brings home just how good a deal I've been getting. When the price hike does eventually come, I'll be okay with it - I mean, I'll drastically cut the amount of music I get from eMusic, but I'll be able to accept that.
But in the U.S., well, it's a different story. The price increase is happening in November, and it's like last year's Sony debacle all over again. The customer response isn't as vociferous - I suppose most of those who'd be most angered left last year. The complaints this time around are more along the lines of "this is definitely the last straw", plus a number that are regretful rather than angry. That's the response I can relate to. Ten years ago, eMusic had a great niche pretty much all to itself, but things have changed too much in the download world since then. The new changes mark the final - well, probably penultimate - step in eMusic's gradual transformation into "just another download store".

Then again, perhaps the outraged should pause a second and ask themselves this question: if eMusic had never existed, and you learned today of a new download service that, for a monthly subscription fee, allowed you to download albums that were a little cheaper than its main competitors, would you say "hey, that's a pretty good idea - I spend X amount of money on music every month anyway, so I might as well spend a set amount at this one place"? In other words, is eMusic really that bad compared with its rivals, or is it that it's bad compared with what it used to be?

1 comment:

JFLL said...

"I spend X amount of money on music every month anyway, so I might as well spend a set amount at this one place"

Aye, there's the rub for me with Emusic – you have to spend a set amount of money every month willy-nilly. Being ancient and having a large collection of vinyl, cassettes, off-air recordings, CDs and digital downloads, I found that after four years with Emusic I was scraping the barrel and downloading things I didn't really want (and in many cases haven't yet listened to). Since I left Emusic about three months ago I've actually spent a lot more on recorded music, but it was all stuff that I really wanted. I've also found Spotify ideal for trying out things before I buy. IMHO if Emusic is just going to be a download store, they must abandon the subscription model, or at least let you roll over unused credits.