EMusic Spiralling Down the Tubes

Barring a major change, I think this is the last year I’ll keep my EMusic membership. They’ve always had a history of shedding and regaining artists and (indie) labels, but lately it seems like they’re only losing content. So many great labels have left the service - Dischord, Alfa Matrix, and Artoffact are gone, to name just three. Saint Marie records is down to one single. Not one single album. One single.

Six of my most recent “save for later” albums are no longer available. One of them, I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions by Santigold, was released on July 27, and it’s already been yanked. Shriekback’s Why Anything? Why This?, released on May 25 (and who knows when it became available on EMusic - I just saw it two days ago for the first time) is also already gone. This is beyond frustrating.

I’ve been an EMusic member since 2002, back when EMusic was “download all you can” for a monthly fee. I stayed when they went to per-track pricing, because I understood that unlimited downloads was unsustainable for anyone - not EMusic, nor their labels and artists. I’m also on a grandfathered plan, so I get a lot of music for my money. In the past there’d always been tons of hidden gems - so many so that I have a long list of stuff saved for later. But as time has worn on, the rate at which my save for later list grows has slowed to nearly a standstill. If things don’t improve, by the time my membership is up for renewal, I’ll have exhausted that list. And it seems like instead of restoring content, or acquiring good new content (sorry, Russian pop doesn’t interest me), they’re peddling a stupid plan for the future of their service. It’s particularly insulting that they’re conflating better revenue sharing with blockchain. It’s a transparent attempt to use the investor-attracting buzzword of the month to bring in an influx of (apparently much-needed) cash, and it bodes ill.

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