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eMusic drops subscription, becomes download store

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eMusic has said that it will remove the subscription requirement from its indie music service and become an online download store in competition with iTunes.

Previously, the service operated a monthly pre-paid subscription allowing members to download and own music at discounted prices.

eMusic logo

eMusic logo



But now anyone can head to eMusic.com to purchase either songs or albums from every major label and nearly all of the independent labels at retail price.

They can also use the site's personalised discovery tools and features, along with editorial curation of available music.

eMusic president and chief executive Adam Klein said that the new business model is "more inclusive" and opens the service up to a broader customer base.

"For nearly 14 years, eMusic has been devoted to music collectors who support artists and labels by purchasing their albums. That's why our base is comprised of culturally independent thinkers and music enthusiasts who are considered to be the taste-makers of the industry," Klein said.

"Although our focus on this audience hasn't changed, our new business model is more inclusive and invites everyone to engage with what eMusic offers: insightful editorial that we curate independent of our sales division, and personalized discovery technology that draws upon the diverse tastes of our unique eMusic community."

It is unclear whether the move was prompted by a slowdown in subscriber numbers at eMusic.

Klein said in a statement that he hopes the new approach will encourage more people to become "collectors of music", and he has also expressed hope that the move will help in negotiations with potential business partners, such as hardware manufacturers wanting to include a music store on their devices.

"A number of major players have already taken interest in eMusic's new business model, which is making the brand more flexible and easier to partner with than ever before," he said.

"We are in talks with potential partners in the OEM [original equipment manufacturer] market, and also with wireless and cable operators, as well as big box retailers."

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