I’m hopelessly old school. Can’t get with Streaming, I like buying music on record and CD but I get some downloads for my mp3 player (yeah – I know!) particularly when I want to take a punt on a new artist or something a bit out of my usual wheelhouse and eMusic have served me well in that respect (and I know many Afterworders would agree). However the catalogue is dwindling to the point where I’d say 9/10 of things I’m looking for aren’t there. eMusic have been amazingly resilient – but now there’s this. I’m tech savvy and reasonably clued up on how the music industry works but this is baffling. Can anyone translate? Have they gone completely Noel Edmonds/David Icke on us or are they – as they claim – the future of recorded music as we know it? Should I hang on to the golden handcuffs a while longer?
We’ve commented on how the emusic relaunch has led to the disappearance of several labels, so it’s only fair to note (for UK accounts at least) a fairly big coup – a treasure trove of 80s Chrysalis. Specials, Selecter, Fun Boy 3, The Waterboys, The Bible, Blue Aeroplanes, Carter USM, Catherine Wheel (ok 90s there) are top of my list. There’s plenty for the rock fan – UFO, Robin Trower, Michael Schenker. Ultravox, Sinead O’Connor, Steeleye Span, Debbie Harry solo stuff – lots to dig into. er and there’s Living In a Box and Go West too.
So some upsides to the relaunch.
Even though they should have been in closed betas for months to iron everything out, inevitably big web platform redesigns take some time to bed in. So I didn’t rush to judgement on the latest (the most radical in over a decade) redesign of venerable mp3 download site emusic. But its been up a couple of months now, and surely time to share some thoughts.
THE GOOD You can search by record label My music is an improvement on previous versions of databases that tracked what you’d downloaded. Wish list and my emusic sync – ie downloaded takes it off one and adds it to the other Removal of emusic downloader, the new ‘in-browser’ downloading is more reliable. Does look a bit fresher visually
THE BAD The removal of almost every functionality from the site bar searching and downloading. No reliable list of new releases recommended for you – as the global new release list always includes mucho dross this is essential. No syncing of downloads with itunes Can’t comment on albums in your lists
NOT YET TRIED any of the apps (tend to use the site just to download from) Daily download
Seems to be a particularly strong selection at the moment from Emusic, possibly as the majors shrink and more and more artists make the kind of recording deals they can pick up. I have on my to-download list new albums from:
Pet Shop Boys Primal Scream James M83 Explosions In The Sky Joe Bonamassa Black Mountain Yeasayer The Field Bob Mould
And recent downloads have included: Polica Basia Bulat Bloc Party School of Seven Bells Cavern of Anti Matter Emma Polloock Nazca Lines Shearwater Tindersticks
Not sure what the long-term business model for mp3s is, it’s telling they have recently introduced their own streaming/playlists app. But all power to their elbow while they can keep going.