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August 08, 2003

Like a Pig in Shit

How had I failed to notice how wonderful eMusic is? I mean, I did know various people who'd recommended it, but I hadn't paid any attention. It's got about 200,000 tracks, all on independent labels; once you join you can download, er, as much as you can comfortably consume* for a single fee. The mp3s aren't controlled; they suggest that you download them, run them on as many computers and mp3 players as you like, burn them to CDs for your own use and the use of people in your immediate family. And they ask that you don't give them to anybody else.

If, like me, you listen to music on mp3 95% of the time, it's a model of what a music service should look like. The lack of big labels isn't a major problem for me, as little of the music I listen to is on big labels. But best not to think of it as a place to get something you're looking for; instead, it's a place to browse and find stuff you've been meaning to listen to. For me, it feels like the world's largest, cheapest, second-hand CD shop.

For example, so far I've downloaded the Oysterband's _Ride_, which I only have on cassette, a Ewan Maccoll collection where our CD is heavily scratched, so we couldn't rip it, The Celtic Poets by Jah Wobble because it looked interesting, Barsaat by Musafir, who we heard live somewhere, sometime, and two songs by Moby because Michael Abbott was remarking on how much Moby looked like Jonathan, so I wanted to hear some of his music.

It's $9.99 a month if you sign up for a year, or $14.99 a month if you sign up for three months. You can download 50 tracks free as a trial (credit card required). It's great. It's cheap. It has lots of good music. Mmm mmm.

*There are a variety of download limits. You have to use their own download manager (which is small, and has versions for Windows, Mac and Linux) to queue tracks. You can't queue more than 45 tracks at once, and there's some discussion online to the effect that people who download more stuff find their downloads throttled. There's apparently also a 'don't abuse eMusic' limit as well, of a couple of thousand tracks per month. Overall, they don't want you downloading more music than you're likely to listen to, which is fair enough.

Posted by Alison at August 8, 2003 12:16 PM

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But note here that the parent company is suffering from clue-deficiency - http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/001410.shtml

Posted by: Feòrag at August 8, 2003 04:03 PM

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