Changes are afoot at eMusic, and not necessarily for the better. The download-to-own-subscription service, which currently boasts 400,000 subscribers (a figure that has leveled off since the end of 2007), has recently changed its pricing model from a credits-based retail structure to a per-track model. This means that rather than paying a monthly fee and receiving a set number of downloads, eMusic members now have to pay per track. The change is suspected to be linked with eMusic’s recent partnerships with the majors, as the service is set to add 250,000 new tracks later this week, mostly from Universal, its latest partner.
Indie labels aren’t happy about this. In fact, such heavy hitters as Domino, Merge, and the Beggars Group of labels (4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL) are pulling their catalogs from eMusic effective tomorrow, November 18. Bad news for indie-oriented eMusic members, as these labels represent such artists as Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Spoon, Deerhunter, Cat Power, Pavement, The Arcade Fire, Belle and Sebastian, Sonic Youth, Vampire Weekend, and more. And you like some, if not all, of these artists!
In a statement on its website, Matador wrote “As you might have read elsewhere, the Matador Records catalog will no longer be available via eMusic after November 18. This is unfortunate, but as eMusic has brought more major labels into the fold, they have changed the terms on which they deal with labels, some of which we have found impossible to accept, in our own interests, those of our artists, and ultimately those of their fans.”
eMusic posted a statement too on its message board: “This is as heartbreaking to us as it is to you. Please know we have done everything we could to keep them from leaving. Forging deals with our label partners can be pretty complex. As many of you know, labels have come and gone over the years, and we hope to see these labels back soon.”
Tiny Mix Tapes has yet to make an official statement because no one gives a shit about us, but let it be known: eMusic will suck after November 18.
• eMusic: http://www.emusic.com