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Following up on the downloads, part 1: eMusic January 15, 2012

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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That’s a lot of downloaded albums. More than I can properly absorb, and it’s been that way for years now. Fortunately, eMusic continues its war against its customers, so I’m not getting as much there as I used to. They lost three of the biggest indie companies late in 2010 (Merge, Matador, Beggars) when they managed to make a deal with one of the majors — for the US only, and with drastic changes in US pricing. Here in Canada, we didn’t get the major labels eMusic has been courting, but we still lost the important indie labels.

To follow that brilliant move, eMusic came up with a drastic redesign a couple months back that made the site unusable for several days, and made some features barely usable for weeks. Fixes aren’t going to be finished for at least another month. Browsing the site has become much more difficult, so my daily runthrough of new downloads has come to an end. I did that every day for years. New releases show up in physical stores on Mondays in the UK and Tuesdays in North America, but you could never be sure which day a particular label’s new releases would show up on eMusic, so I checked regularly. Now it’s just too much of a pain.
The two main things keeping me tied to eMusic are inertia and S.T. Holdings. And electronic, ambient, and experimental music labels in general. Most of the major dubstep labels are there, mainly through S.T. Holdings, and there’s still enough good and interesting music related to dubstep to follow (though the ways in which dubstep is impinging on the mainstream — Skrillex, Nero, Korn, etc — are fodder for another, more casually dismissive discussion).

A part of me, though, still hopes that the site will become user-friendly again, and that some labels will return, and I’ll be excited about eMusic again.

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