As of Monday, independent music download service eMusic opened their doors to major label giant Sony Music. In one move, the cheapest way to support indie artists got a little more expensive, for you and eMusic.
The deal opens up the eMusic catalogue to previously unavailable artists like The Clash, David Bowie, Franz Ferdinand, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and musicians on the 15 labels Sony owns. The deal only applies to their back catalogue – any album released over two years ago.
What does this mean for regular music consumers, who buy music based on aesthetic (to support the artist), and aren’t old school enough to do it soley because it’s lawful? How is this deal supposed to look good for us? The way I look at it, I’ve got access to music that was already easy to find for free. And what does Bruce Springsteen need my money for?
Even at the most cost efficient plans will see a price jump and cutbacks on downloads. Whereas 75 downloads used to cost $19.99 per month, they’ve been cut to 50 downloads running at $20.79. (Price breakdown thanks to Matt Rosoff at CNET news). This isn’t the first time they’ve cut back and increased prices, but the timing that came with the Sony deal sure puts a spotlight on it.
Even after the price uptake, eMusic still remains cheaper than digital world-heavyweight champion iTunes, the one-stop research shop. It’s still multitudes cheaper than the second-in-command Amazon MP3 store. On one hand, that is reason enough to stick around.
Yet, as much as music is about integrity, eMusic lost some in the minds of their users. People are getting less songs to research and experiment with, and for what? True, you can finally check out Horses by Patti Smith, but you might not like Falling Into You by Céline Dion as much. P.O.D. or Valencia? Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits do anything for you?
eMusic is charging more to get music by artists you’ve probably heard songs by, that have been cycled through a big marketing campaign and are a part of the Rolling Stone/Clear Channel machine. You can’t even get their trendiest new releases by artists like Adele or Kings of Leon. People buy music for a few reasons: they don’t know how to get it otherwise, it’s convenient, or they care about supporting the artist.
So, we at Phrequency ask you: is it as backwards as we think for you to pay more for music that is coming from one of the biggest labels in the world? Does this even mean anything to how you get music?
Somehow, when I think of this eMusic deal, I think of this video: