Eleven years after it opened up shop, eMusic has finally won its first major-label repertoire, in the shape of Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music Entertainment – but the label is only consenting to give tunes older than two years. eMusic started in 1998, but the combination of its pre-pay subscription plan and DRM-free MP3s have made it unpalatable to everyone bar the indies. In that time, it claims to have attracted over 400,000 customers, each paying at least $11.99 a month for 24 songs…
In the last two years, during which the proportion of music downloads that are illegal rose to 95 percent by the record industry’s own estimates, labels have finally come around to the idea of DRM-free a la carte track downloads. eMusic site reckons its core demographic of over-25s are less prone to copy. But combining an
unlimited all-you-can-eat download plan with no copying locks may still give labels the jitters.
SME, whose 50 percent BMG stake was bought out by Sony last year, is coming aboard with archive tracks – but isn’t risking letting its hottest new releases go in to the wild. So this deal will bring eMusic customers material from the likes of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen, but the latest from artists like of Ciara, Britney Spears and Usher will be missing. NYT: “As part of the deal, eMusic says it will slightly raise prices and reduce the number of downloads for some of its monthly plans.”
(Photo: Sister72, some rights reserved)