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eMusic review: An Indie Music Download Store

The eMusic digital music service - reviewed

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 1.5 Star Rating (5 Reviews)

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eMusic is a subscription based music service that is available in the United States, United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. What makes eMusic so different is that its entire music catalog is indie music.

eMusic has a unique business model that concentrates solely on indie music, but does this single focus give it enough quality content to entice you to subscribe? Read the eMusic Store review to find out the nuts and bolts.

Pros:

  • eMusic is a ‘DRM-free’ zone.
  • Over 2.8 million tracks.
  • Good value for money.

Cons:

  • Songs from independent labels only.
  • Unused download credits don’t get rolled over to the following month.

Service Features

Free Trial: eMusic offers a two-week trial for you to test-drive the service. You can download 25 free songs which are yours to keep even if you decide not to become a member.

Subscription Plans:
eMusic has 3 subscription options which are:

  • eMusic Basic: $9.99 per month for 30 downloads ($0.33 per download)
  • eMusic Plus: $14.99 per month for 50 downloads ($0.30 per download)
  • eMusic Premium: $19.99 per month for 75 downloads ($0.27 per download)
All of the subscription plans give good value for money compared with other music services. Whichever option you choose, please be aware that if you don’t use all your download credits in a month, then you will lose them because there is no rollover.

Booster Packs: So, what happens if you are a download junkie and happen to hit your maximum before the end of the month? Simple - eMusic have got it covered with ‘booster packs’. These are additional download credits that you can buy in order to download more music, but these workout expensive compared to normal subscription downloads.

Audiobooks: eMusic have over 1,000 audiobooks to choose from that will appeal to most tastes; a subscription is required to use this service.

Website Content: Navigating the site is a user-friendly experience that is complimented by a clean and simple layout. An informative and entertaining editorial is featured on the web site and is frequently updated. Cool features called ‘friends’, ‘neighbors’ and ‘playlists’ gives you the ability to link to other users to share your discoveries.

File Formats

File Formats: As with all the music downloaded from the eMusic store, the tracks that you download have no restrictions on how you can use them. You can play, burn to CD and transfer the MP3 files as many times as you like; this is a strong selling point and a very attractive feature for prospective subscribers. Unlike services such as iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster who DRM-armour their AAC and WMA files, eMusic delivers unprotected digital audio files in exactly the same way as if you were to rip tracks from your own CDs.

Audio Bitstream Rates:

  • All downloaded MP3 files are encoded at 192Kbps with Variable-Bit-Rate (VBR) compression.

Software

eMusic Download Manager: To download music from the web site you will need eMusic’s Download Manager program. Its interface is a no-brainer to use and installs without any fuss.

eMusic Remote: eMusic Remote is a new multi-platform utility that is an improvement over the download manger utility and is required if you want to download audiobooks as well as music. This program is a better option to use due to its many additional features such as, web site browser; search tool; file transfer tool and ability to add extra extensions.

Conclusion

Is it right for you?
eMusic has come up with a an excellent music service that fills a niche in the market and gives subscribers the maximum flexibility on how they can enjoy their music; this feature alone may sway your decision into using eMusic. If you’re into indie music or just want to discover alternatives to mainstream offerings, then it’s worth giving eMusic a shot – even if it’s just for the 25 free tracks that you get with the trial. The biggest gripe about the eMusic service is the way they execute their subscription model; if you don’t use all your allotted downloads in a month, then they are not rolled over to the next month; this seems a little harsh considering you have already paid. That said, if you don’t mind a subscription based service and music from independent labels only, then you’ll love eMusic.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Complete rip-off, no tech suppt, wont work on andr, Member rayeelaine013

I signed up for a free trial on this service, for music and audio. While the prices might be good, the selection is poor unless you are totally into Indie. I ended up letting the free trial roll-over just because I didnt get to selecting music or books in the ten days. I could not sample the albums on my android. Then I downloaded their player app and then downloaded music and a book, could not access either through their player or any other player. Contacted Tech Support (email only, no phone or chat), still waiting for a response (other than the automated one) 7 days later. The worst is if you dont go in and buy a book or use up your music every 30 days, the credits dont roll over and you are out the $10-20 you paid that month. Compared to Rhapsody where I can download all the music I want to play on my player or android for $15/mo, this service is a complete rip-off.

1 out of 1 people found this helpful.

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