eMusic

Posted on April 20, 2003

   
There is an interesting article online about Apple’s new music service vs the eMusic service.
http://www.swcp.com/~hudson/emusic.html

It started me thinking…

I have been a subscriber to eMusic for the last year. It’s a $9.99 per month all you can eat, music service for mp3 downloads. Apple’s new service is based on a per song charge of 99 cents. (Note: Emusic has changed it’s prices significantly since I first wrote this, but I am still a subscriber and I still like it better that iTunes)
In all honesty, after playing with Apple’s new service for about a day, the cost is only a small part of what bothers me.

Most of this has to do with why and how I listen to music. I like to hear new things and I am not a big fan of radio. The unrepentant sameness of it all makes me want to cry. When I finally do hear something new that intrigues me, the dj inevitably forgets to tell me what the song was. The standard Clear Channel DJ’s don’t even really play music anymore. The tunes are simply a bumper between moments of narcissism that would make Noel Galleger seem thoughtful and introspective.

I like to discover music almost as much as I like to listen. When I was 18 I used to blow an average of $30 per week on records (yes the black discs with the hole in them junior. Now pipe down before I have to use my cane). Some of the stuff I bought was crap… actually a lot of it was. Those got traded back in at the local used record store and more music was then purchased.

On rare occasions I came across an album that totally rocked my world… The Jags -“Evening Standard” (1979) and the followup “No Tie Like A Present” (1980)… Great Building’s self titled first and only album… DB Cooper’s “Buy American” and the first two Gary Newman albums (Yes, he made music before “Cars”).

I picked these albums up because of the cover, a friends recommendation, a magazine review or maybe just because I liked their name. I listened and decided for myself if I liked it or not. No radio reinforcement necessary.

This is why I love eMusic and why Apple’s site seems to be just more of the same. The content on Apple’s site is everything you would expect to see in the Columbia House catalog (I never could find 10 cd’s I wanted… even for a penny) As far as new stuff goes, do I really want to “discover” Linkin Park? (graduates of the Heavy Metal School for Spellin Stuff)

eMusic carries popular and esoteric stuff. I can browse the music by label and have often used this to download an entire label catalog (Matador and Hidden Agenda were two of my fav’s) Again, some of it’s good and some of it stinks, but at $9.99 per month you just can’t beat it.

Where else can I satisfy some of my guilty pleasures like Dead or Alive’s “Nukleopatra” or the Biocraft mix of “Peace and Love Incorporated?” Where else can I discover the incredible music of Green Pajamas, Bikeride and the Acid City Kings? Where else could I explore jazz with Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane. (Jazz is always a killer for me. I inevitably pick up something from the artist’s “experimental – avant – garde – blowing – into – the – wrong – end – of – the – clarinet – and – hitting – the – piano – strings – with – marbles period.”)

Now I don’t worry… If I happen to catch Miles Davis in one of his “Look what happens when you do too much heroin” periods, I can just recycle the electrons and move on. No harm no foul.

MP3 music on the net is the haven of collectors, artists and misfits. The mainstream will continue to buy it’s music from traditional outlets. For most of them, the computer is just another thing between them and their purchase and with the foolish efforts at copy protection this is unlikely to change.

eMusic understands the misfits. So they get my $9.99 per month and I get to listen to the Knack, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Chavez and I Am The World Trade Center.

Fear me!