eMusic Review

When I bought my new portable audio player, it came with a bunch of free songs from eMusic. I have gotten these offers before, but in the past I did not bother cashing them in because the eMusic selection was pretty limited. Since I wanted to grab some new music to fill my new toy, I decided to give eMusic another chance. I was pleased to find that their selection is much better than it was a few years ago. They are no longer limited to music from independent labels, and they actually offer a decent amount of music from mainstream artists. Much to my delight, they also offer a nice selection of classic rock albums.

As you might be able to guess, another stipulation that I had for eMusic was its ability to work in Ubuntu. They can offer me all the free credits they want, but if they require a PC/Mac-only downloader, it doesn’t do me any good. I was pleasantly surprised to find that eMusic actually offers a Linux downloader, and it actually works fairly well. As a bonus, Banshee offers an integrated eMusic Importer extension in its latest release.

I received an offer from eMusic for 50 free credits. One credit equates to a single song, but many albums are sold as “deals” that cost less than buying all of the songs individually. In order to get the free credits, I had to “subscribe” to eMusic. This means I had to sign up with a credit card and choose a subscription plan, with their most popular being $11.99/month for 24 credits/month. The pricing is pretty reasonable at $0.50/song. Of course, this is contingent upon being able to find 24 songs per month to download and spending $12 every month on music. The first 50 songs are still free, and you are not charged for the subscription until your free credits are used up. As soon as your free credits are gone, your credit card is charged and your subscription starts, but if you’re satisfied with 49 freebies, you can cancel your account without charge and keep the music. They offer a nice bonus too: if you’re close to finishing off your free credits, they’ll offer a few extra freebies to entice you into starting your subscription. For example, if you have 8 free credits left and you’re browsing an album that costs 12 credits, eMusic will probably display a message that says something like “We’ll give you 4 more free credits to start your subscription today.” Unfortunately, the free credits can’t be used to buy certain songs and albums on eMusic. It was pretty frustrating because a few popular albums that I wanted to pick up were unable to be purchased with free credits. Free credits are also only good for 30 days. I would recommend not starting your account until you have about 4 new albums to buy.

I was able to find quite a bit of new music. I made a list long enough to use all of my free credits and my first month’s subscription. All-in-all, I picked up 6 new albums and 5 singles for $11.99. That includes 56 free credits and $11.99 for 24 credits.

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits
  • Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits
  • Matt and Kim – Grand
  • Metric – Fantasies
  • The Submarines – Declare a New State!
  • The Temper Trap – Conditions
  • Some Singles:
    • America – Lonely People
    • Jim Croce – I Got A Name
    • Neil Young – Long May You Run
    • The Yardbirds – You’re A Better Man Than I
    • The Yardbirds – For Your Love

Unfortunately, I couldn’t justify renewing my subscription for any longer than one month. During my search for new music, I came across a few new albums that I wanted to pick up, only to find that eMusic did not carry the artist or album. I also could not see myself consistently spending $12/month on music, even if I could find stuff that I liked. Plus, eMusic does not allow unused credits to roll over from month-to-month, so if I had unused credits at the end of a month, I would be forced to use them or lose them. Overall, I was impressed with their collection though. I was just not impressed enough to keep up a monthly subscription. However, they do offer a variety of subscription plans including a “lite” version that costs $6.49/month for 12 credits/month. If you’re willing to subscribe for a year, they’ll also throw in 100 additional free credits. As an interesting side note, when I attempted to cancel my account, I was offered a free extra month (24 songs) with no strings attached. After canceling, I also received an email offer for 75 more free credits to restart my subscription. I may consider renewing in the future if I can come up with enough music.

For now, look forward to some reviews of the aforementioned albums. And if you’re the music-buying type, head over to eMusic and give them a look. You can get a really nice deal on the stuff they offer, and while their selection isn’t as good as iTunes or AmazonMP3, it’s pretty darn good.