eMusic Relaunches With Variable Pricing
Amid a controversy over the departure of three key indie labels, eMusic has relaunched offering fewer free bonus tracks and a variable pricing model that raises the track price for most subscribers. Monthly subscriptions now range from $11.99 for up to 24 tracks to $35.99 for up to 73 tracks. "Up to" is key in the new eMusic pricing because tracks are now individually valued at between $.49 and $.89 each.Track prices vary according to newness and popularity and appear to be set by each label. Previously, e Music valued all tracks equally at an average much closer to $.50 a track. New subscribers were once also offered as many as 75 free tracks. Now bonuses range from $2.50 to $10.00 plus short term discounts on more expensive plans.
The upside for eMusic subscribers is the addition of 250,000 from Universal plus new product from Sony and WMG. Concessions to get major label product almost certainly led to the new pricing structure. But that same new pricing also caused the exit of the Domino, Merge and the Beggars Group labels, and could encourage some subscribers to leave as well.
eMusic is betting that the major label product - a feature that is not currently clear until after users sign up - can help it attract new customers and is planning a major marketing push spread that message.