eMusic has struck a deal with Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) that will give the independent online music e-tailer 10,000 albums — roughly 150k tracks — from WMG’s catalog, the company said in an e-mail release. The agreement covers titles from WMG’s Atlantic Records, Rhino Records and *Warner Bros.* Records as well as from independent labels distributed through WMG’s ADA stable that are not currently sold on eMusic. However, the arrangement mainly applies to older songs, not new releases, though an eMusic rep said that some recent albums will be available. That’s similar to the agreement eMusic struck with Sony (NYSE: SNE) last year. “Each label will determine what they would like us to sell,” the rep said. “We expect that, like Sony, some labels will give us content that will appeal to our members before it becomes catalog.”
At least for now, the WMG downloads will only be available to U.S. members. EMusic’s catalog totals more than 7.5 million tracks across a variety of genres. The company’s monthly memberships start at “24 credits” for $11.99. Members can typically buy single tracks for as low as $0.40 to $0.50 — less than half of what iTunes charges — and individual albums starting at $6.
eMusic has sold more than 350 million downloads under its current ownership. With iTunes having surpassed 6 billion music downloads last year, eMusic is not likely to catch up any time soon. But it does hope to carve out a larger niche. The WMG deal is intended to help it grow from its current 400,000 members.
Beyond music sales, the company is looking to broaden its offerings on the streaming end as well. CEO Danny Stein told Reuters that eMusic is trying to strike new licensing deals with its label partners that would allow it to stream songs to its subscribers similar to services like LaLa, which Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) bought last month (WMG got at least $9 million back of the $20 million it invested in LaLa, Rafat reported yesterday.)
Given the ever-challenging landscape involved in selling online music, last year, eMusic owner JDS Capital