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The latest “discovery” in my continuing search for MP3s I can pay for is eMusic. While I really like it, eMusic is sort of a mixed bag in the online music world – half subscription service, half store, providing a strange experience at first.

Most subscription services give you unlimited access to a large library of DRM-ed tracks which all expire when you close your account. eMusic, on the other hand, is a subscription service that lets you download a limited number of non-DRM, totally standard MP3 files that are yours to keep even after the your subscription ends. You pick a service level, like $10/month for 20 songs or $25/month for 100 songs. That’s about $0.25 song – pretty amazing considering that other services tend to charge around $1.00 per song.

eMusic’s catalog tends toward the indie, which while great for me might not suit everyone (I’ve certainly found tons of music I like.). The quality also might not please audiophiles – VBR targeting an average of 192k. My only gripe is this: if I have 9 songs left on my account and I grab a whole album of 10 songs, I’d like to be able to complete the album at my currently monthly song rate of $0.25. It’d be great if the library were more vast, but that will come with time.

All in all, I love eMusic, and I’m sure I’ll be a long-term subscriber. I love buying music, I love doing it cheaply, I love generating no plastic waste or needless shipping, and I love getting standard files that will play forever.

Moreover, and my real reason for writing: if you think you might like it too, let me know. If I refer you and you join for at least a month, we’ll each get 50 free songs! That’s like four free albums. What more could you ask for? :D

Published in culture


  1. eM eM

    When we get our new computer, refer me and then we can get more songs! Right now, we’re holding off because everything we have is probably going to have to be scrapped because it’s in winamp and now I have an iPod and it’s all so corrupt, half of it doesn’t play.. But soon! I’ll let you know when we get the new ‘puter and then we can both get free music – yay!

  2. Corrupt how? Let me take a look before you scrap it. It might be salvageable.

  3. emusic sux.

    I created an account in December (on your recommendation). I haven’t logged into it in a couple months, and now today I logged in and see it’s been charging me $10 a month and I have 30 credits. So I seem to have paid $50 for the ability to download 30 songs. Then I downloaded a 10 track Sharon Jones album and it deducted 20 credits. wtf is up with that? This is broken.

  4. That’s how eMusic works! It’s a subscription service – you pay every month for the right to download and keep that many songs each month. At $0.33 or $0.25 per song it’s a great deal, but you have to use your quota every month or you lose it.

    If you downloaded 10 songs and it deducted 20 credits, that is broken. I’d ask customer service.

    I actually quit eMusic a while ago. They have the whole Merge catalog, which is great, but their selection overall is still too sparse. I love the service as long as it has music I want, but beyond that I lost interest.

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