Tuesday, June 16, 2009

an open letter to eMusic

eMusic has recently almost doubled their prices, in tandem with an expansion of their download catalog. here is my email to their customer service, expressing my dissatisfaction:

I am really disappointed with the new pricing structure of eMusic. Under the new scheme, the price of each download will increase from $.25 per song to $.40 per song, under my current plan. Frankly I think this is pretty ridiculous considering other services like iTunes are lowering their prices.

I understand eMusic's desire to broaden their customer base by offering more mainstream music. But I, like most other eMusic customers, do not subscribe to this service for these types of offerings. And, sadly, I have a sneaking suspicion that by making your offerings more mainstream, you will neglect the more niche offerings to which most people on eMusic are attuned.

An obvious solution is to have a tiered pricing system, similar to that adopted by iTunes, that places a premium on more popular works. This would keep eMusic a more viable place for smaller artists, for which demand for their work may be more price elastic.

The previous comments are predicated on the idea that the new music you are offering costs more, which is why you are raising your prices. If the price increase is not simply designed to offset higher acquisition costs on your end, but also allows for an increase in artist royalties from downloads, than that is a different story.

I will say that unless a tiered pricing structure is implemented, or if the album pricing system does not provide a significant cost savings, I will probably cancel my eMusic subscription after a few months of the new system. I enjoy and appreciate your service but there are number of issues, most of all the rise in prices, that I find discouraging about the new arrangement.


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