eMusic poised to gain from DRM hysteria

eMusic announced new subscription plans that lower its per-song download price to 25 cents. The timing couldn't be better as Apple and Microsoft admit to DRM's shortcomings.

eMusic logo

With all the iTunes/EMI DRM-free ballyhoo going on, it's easy to forget that sites like eMusic have already been offering inexpensive, DRM-free downloads for years. While Apple and Microsoft casually backpedal out of the DRM mess they've made, eMusic is announcing a very attractive new monthly subscription model that offers 25-cent downloads of DRM-free MP3s. It may not be Apple's reported 256kbps AAC quality, but for the average user a 192kbps MP3 sounds just fine--especially at 25 cents a song.

eMusic's new plans (called Connoisseur) come in three types 100, 200, and 300 downloads per month, priced respectively at $25, $50 and $75. While these are more expensive than rental subscription models like Rhapsody or Urge , at the end of the day you actually keep the music you've downloaded. That's keep--as in forever.

Be warned, eMusic's Achilles heel has always been selection. With major labels historically wary of DRM-free downloads, few have joined in with eMusic's mostly independent catalog. The recent iTunes/EMI deal may signal a sea change in this way of thinking and hopefully reward eMusic for its consistent endorsement of DRM-free music.

If you're an existing eMusic member, here's a link on how to upgrade your plan.

About the author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.

 

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