Why So Quiet? Another Emusic Tidbit

Aside from the blogosphere, there’s an amazing silence in the tech press about the Emusic acquisition. I find that awfully curious given the amount of press the troubles of the music industry garners on a daily basis, including the recent roll-out of Napster 2.0 and the forthcoming iTunes for PC. I really must ask, why doesn’t anyone in the mainstream press want to look under the hood of Emusic’s new masters deciding to alienate its entire customer base?

And, the real question: Who benefits?

Most of the data about Emusic and what some of the company’s problems might be seems to be trickling in from former employees sharing info on comment boards. Here’s another tidbit I picked up from the comments to a post by someone called “GB” on Dan Gillmor’s eJournal:

“I used to work at EMusic, until Spring 02. The problem was that certain people would write scripts and bots to download everything in the catalog. Or, they methodically clicked on every ‘download’ link on the site and got everything they could. Due to royalty structures worked out with the labels, each song download incurred a small payment from EMusic to the label. The $9.95 a month was fine to cover an average amount per month, but the heavy downloaders snarfing down tens of thousands of songs a month broke the business model.

“Marketing had decided that ‘Unlimited’ was the name of the program and how it had to stay. There would not have been a problem had they called it EMusic Platinum or something. When I was there they were considering download throttles or other technical means to prevent excessive downloading, but I don’t think anything came of it.

“I still believe in the business model and they’re a good bunch of people.

“I am not currently an EMusic member or employed by EMusic.”

And let me note that for myself, if Emusic had approached me, as a subscriber, and said due to these sorts of hoarding problems we’re going to have limit you to, say, 500, or even 250 mp3s a month, I’d have probably said, OK.

There’s a lot of room between unlimited (in actuality, 2000) and 40, and the fact that Emusic’s new management chose such a low limit to force on its customers indicates to me that they aren’t really committed to the model, and more likely need a neat excuse to kill it off.






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