Tuesday, June 02, 2009

please don't stop emusic

The excellent music subscription service, emusic, is raising its rates and cutting the number of downloads in subscriptions. Me sad. Also, I haaaaaaate people who comment on things like this and say "BYE" to whatever thing changed something.

Full text:
As those who know me are aware, I'm an avid consumer of music. This has meant shelves of CDs that hog most of the usable wall space in my room. I've probably spent way too much (I like to think that it's nothing compared to what I would have spent on a car had I ever owned one). Partly due to the money/space issue, I've gotten over my aversion to buying mp3s and I've been an emusic subscriber for a while.

With their continuous lures of 30 day trials with 30 free downloads (of individual tracks) and a well stocked armory of records from independent labels, I couldn't resist. They use a monthly subscription model at different pricing tiers (kind of like a health club).

A big plus is these are REAL MP3s. No streaming, funky file types, or DRM. The music is paid for and the cord is cut; it is mine.

I had a wonderful thing going. 90 downloads a month for $19.99. Ridiculous. Around $0.23 a track. A 12 track album would cost $2.67. Plus, I was grandfathered in past a rate hike. Of course it couldn't last.

Then came news of the impending arrival of some of the back catalog of one of the big 4 mega labels Sony, with "labels like Arista, Columbia, Epic and RCA - that means artists including the Strokes, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and The Clash to name a few" according to the blog post of emusic's CEO. Which is great, that would definitely lead to some pretty good gains for me.

Unfortunately, also announced was the hiking of prices and lowering of downloads per tier. No grandfather clause either. Most probably having to do with pressure from Sony wanting some real money from the deal. I'm also going to speculate that it's probably so that emusic can pad out its razor-thin profit margin.

My sweetheart deal will now be 50 downloads a month for $19.99. Around $0.40 a track. A 12 track album would cost around $4.80. Not bad at all really, but still a bummer.

What is really annoying is a classic problem I seem to have with the billing periods: making sure you get your money's worth. Since monthly accounts go by 30 days instead of the same date every month, it's harder if you are trying to make sure you are using as much of your monthly downloads as possible. Multiple times I've meant to download albums in what I thought was the end of a cycle, thus using up my remaining downloads. But sometimes I couldn't make it in time.

It's sort of like how Netflix works from the customer's perspective. You think you're getting a deal by paying $20 a month and having 3 DVDs cycling in and out. But if you hold onto the DVDs, which it seems most people do, it's not much of a deal for you (though there are no late fees). You get more bang for your buck if you use it as much as you can.

So there is the constant feeling of missed opportunity. Which I hate. A year ago emusic had the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from 1964 - 1970. I was excited and thought about what the best attack plan was going to be. Then it was gone because ABKCO, the label controlling the music, got freaked out and pulled everything. I had downloaded nothing and looked back wistfully.

Well, I hope at least that this means the artists will be paid a better share.

So now here I am. Faced with a download cut, I look back at how many albums I could have downloaded using all 90 downloads every month. Lives could have been changed, the world's colors made that much brighter.

In closing:
So, as you can see, I'm kinda pissed (mostly at losing a rate that I had been grandfathered) but I'll live. Emusic subscribers are still getting a HELL of a deal. If you like indie music (and soon music from at least one mega-label), you are getting music at a good to really good discount than what you can get from Amazon or iTunes (again, this is IF you are using your subscription).

But as with any announcement having to do with anything on the internet has been the chorus of groaners. It's hard to know if these haters are actually individuals who utilize or interact with the subject in question since trolling has long become its own brutalist art form on the internets. The thing to do in a reaction to change is to say "BYE" or something short and similarly stupid-sounding. Hard to argue with that.

Even when it concerns awesome things like Conan O'Brien hosting the Tonight Show (some idiot on twitter actually said "Conan? Goodbye Tonight Show... YOU LOST ME!" to which I say "great" and why don't you lose yourself from society?). Or free iced coffee with a sandwich at Dunkin Donuts (for which I imagine: "I LIKE PAYING FOR ICED COFFEE. NO LONGER. EPIC FAIL. BYE DD"). Ah the rank smell of haters.

1 comment:

Jonathan Airport said...

Worst. Music. Store. Ever.