done with emusic – or trying to be

I knew that nothing good would come of emusic’s plan changes. I mean, dumping all your favourite indie labels and replacing them with mainstream crud; how’s that working out for you, yeah?

Just to show you how things have changed, here’s a list of the most recent artists I’d downloaded pre-plan changes. The ones in red are ones you can’t get any more:

  • Barry Louis Polisar
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Boards Of Canada — only one album available
  • Dum Dum Girls
  • Eels
  • Elizabeth Cotten
  • Elsinore
  • Euros Childs
  • Forest City Lovers
  • Frontier Ruckus
  • Gonja Sufi
  • Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
  • Hold Your Horses!
  • Macy Gray
  • Michael Hurley
  • Mount Eerie
  • Pocahaunted
  • Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
  • Sun Kil Moon
  • The Delgados
  • The Moldy Peaches
  • The Tallest Man On Earth
  • The Turtles
  • The Whitlams
  • Will Powers

And here was me on a major Delgados kick, and they’re gone.

So cancelled my plan on the weekend, and got this:

Yep, if you’re on an annual plan, you’ve got to sit it out. They don’t offer refunds. So now I have to remember to go in every thirty days for the next nine months to find something – anything! – to download. It’s extremely shabby that emusic are holding over $100 of my balance to ransom. I guess they’re just trying to fit in with the mainstream music industry …

emusic canada changes its pricing

What with the sad loss of Wild East Compact Sounds this summer, my sources of music are now limited. eMusic, bless ’em, have been my source of indie stuff since about 2003. They were cheap, had a fixed price per download, and carried a raft of indie stuff and no major label tat.

Not much longer; got this in my inbox:

So, yeah, the full announcement: major label content, minimum 49¢/track, and variable pricing. Exactly all the reasons I wouldn’t want to use them. Good call, eMusic, for a battered-about subscriber since 2003.

I was initially confused by the pricing. I pay 36¢/track, so I couldn’t see how their promise that “your monthly payments will not change and you will still be able to download the same number of tracks available today, if not more, depending upon your current plan“. Then I see their new menu:

So basically they’re crediting me with a fake $4.48 a month (oh wait; “30 days”, not a month; they so want you to forget to download stuff by making the cycle date change) so I can still get my 35 downloads. Since they hint that there will now be variable pricing, I’ll bet the new stuff will be >49¢, so I really won’t be able to download as many per month after all.

They’re saying that the new pricing will allow them to do a bunch of fun stuff:

We’re also committed to making eMusic a better member experience. We recently rolled out improvements to Browse and Search pages. And we’re hard at work on a host of new features and enhancements including a music locker, which should allow you to stream your music collection from any desktop or mobile device. In addition, improvements to eMusic’s social features, to better connect you with our editors, other members, artists, labels and your friends, are also in the works. We’ve sketched out an ambitious slate, and it will take a little while to get there. We hope you’ll continue on the journey with us.

I don’t want all that social fluff. The MP3s work just fine on any mobile device, so streaming them just adds more crud. I want fixed price downloads, not some half-assed music locker. Where, oh where is Frank Hecker and swindleeeee when you need them?

emusic: where Canada still means more expensive and second-rate

I’m not going to get all Swindleeeee!!!!! about it, but I’ve noticed a few things missing in the new emusic Canada site. I lost all my MP3s in the break-in, but I thought I’d downloaded all of the ones I’d bought from emusic a couple of days ago.

Not so. For unexplained reasons, I got humming The Whole House is Singing, and I thought I needed to listen to some Alasdair Roberts. Couldn’t find it in the share, so I went back to emusic to download it again, and rats!, it’s gone. So here’s some music I’ve paid for, but now emusic (champions of no-DRM) can’t make good on their promise to let you re-download everything you’ve bought.

(I’ve also noticed that most of the Deva Premal tracks [hey, they’re Catherine‘s] have gone, but have had no compulsion whatsoever to hum them …)

so long, emusic

I left emusic — despite me originally saying this — because they changed. Unlimited downloads went away.

I did download a ton of good music before unsubscribing. But they let me down — they shouldn’t have promised what they couldn’t sustain. Just like Bigfoot For Life, who promised free, unlimited e-mail forwarding for life, only to turn around and start charging.

i think i like emusic …

Just signed up for US $10 per month for unlimited download of some excellent artists, encoded as decent MP3s.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve downloaded so far:

  • The Dickies
  • The Fall
  • Ewan MacColl
  • Jah Wobble
  • Gorp
  • James Taylor Quartet
  • Daniel Johnston
  • Holy Modal Rounders
  • Wesley Willis
  • Boards Of Canada
  • Perez Prado Orchestra
  • Young Fresh Fellows
  • Mayor McCA
  • Yo La Tengo
  • Dressy Bessy
  • The Fugs
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Maybe I don’t like them all, but at least I haven’t paid extra to find that out.