emusic.com – Pick of the Week

January 4, 2008

Pick of the Week is my way of highlighting cool/new services and software on the web or the Mac. A few Windows applications might sneak in from time to time, but it will be rare. You can find an archive of services and software at http://www.marktopia.net/tag/potw/.

I have been seeing free trials of emusic.com for awhile now and about 6 months ago I browsed there selection and was not impressed. After seeing another promo in our Netflix, I decided to give it another look this week. I was surprised to see how much it has grown in the last 6 months. Featuring more than 2 million tracks now, emusic has matured and might be worth your money if you like some non-mainstream music.

Service Info

emusic.com works a little differently than an iTunes or Amazon MP3 store in that you are not paying per album. You have a monthly subscription with a set number of downloads for a given subscription per month. For example, for $9.99 you get 30 track downloads per month. This averages to about 3 albums per month for 10 dollars, which is a pretty good deal in my opinion. The issue could come up of you want to spend more than that, where you can either upgrade your service or get a booster pack which gives you additional track downloads.

All of the tracks are MP3 and DRM free so you can put them on pretty much any device. They also offer an audiobook service for one book for $9.99 each month, but the selection is fairly limited for that. I should note for the music selection, it is mainly independent artists, but you may be surprised to find a number of groups that you have heard of. You can browse before signing up at http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.html.

Some drawbacks are the somewhat limited selection and the browsing interface is not as nice as iTunes. Also there is also a social aspect to the site where you can add neighbors, ratings, reviews, etc, however it does not look like it is a thriving community so that probably is not a reason to sign up.

My View

I have signed up for the monthly account after getting the free tracks, so that should say something. I was surprised to find about half of my top 15 albums of 2007 on the service and I will link to each of them at the end of the article. Because of that, I would suggest testing the service simply if you want to listen to some of those albums. That being said, I think it has enough music to be worthwhile month in and month out. To be able to buy 3 albums per month for $9.99 legally is a great deal and I bet you can find music on there to get.

2007 Albums on emusic