neuronwave

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Friday, October 10, 2003

The Day eMusic Died
Well folks the gravy train is over. eMusic announced today that they are changing from an all you can eat business model to a 10$ gets you 40 tracks model.

Now I have a conflict of interest in writing about this as I own a substantial part of one of eMusic's main service suppliers so I'd like to see eMusic continue.

My understanding is that a large number let's say over 75% of people download less than 40 tracks a month hence making the $10 for 40 tracks a financial deal no worse than the current one they have for these users.

BUT

What has happened is that ostensibly eMusic has changed its service from offering free music in the minds of their subscribers to charging $10 a month (not 25c per track as it is not a la carte).

Changing from 0$ to 10$ has huge emotional baggage attached to it and I expect (and it is happening) a huge backlash with many many more than 25% of their subscribers (the ones who download more than 40 tracks) leaving in droves. And I expect a massive increase in downloads as the leaving subscribers grab what they can (how long will eMusic's bandwidth last??).

Aside from the $0 to $10 change, there is the perceived/real issue that most of the artists on emusic you have never heard of before. Now this doesn't make them crap...quite the opposite with there being many many great "finds" on the service which the previous all you can eat model made exceptionally compelling to explore and try. So you had a good:bad hit ratio of 1:8 lets say.

Under the new model this will not change and then perceived "risk" you have in downloading a track is that it is one of the 7 dud tracks rather than the 1 good one. Mathematically this pushes the cost of a good track to 8*0.40$ = $3.20 well above any existing model.

Before you all say hold on ben you can sample the songs....this is true But there are only 30sec clips on the service and for an unkown song/artist this does little to mitigate the risk for the majority of users out there...not to mention the fact that the clips don't easily link in with the service as well as itunes.

I think that eMusic in its new for can survive but it needs to do some new things.

What does eMusic need to do (in no real order)??

1) Improve the sampling service. Extend it to 75% of the song for samples.
2) Add user generated reviews of individual tracks.
3) Offer cheaper downloads for those super short tracks out there.
4) Get rid of the download manager and revert to easy click and download links.
5) Finally...hang on...this is going to be a bumpy ride.

0 comments | 7:58 AM
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About
neuronwave is the personal site of Ben Hosken. I am the founder of Flink Labs, a data visualisation studio based in Melbourne. Previously I founded AgentArts, where I developed a recommendations system that we ultimately sold to MSFT.I have two patents, one in Recommendation Systems and one for a datamining algorithm I invented. I have a strong interest in physical computing, emergence, self organising systems, immersive games, bluetooth ad hoc networks and other fun things.
A while ago I built and ran Blog Change Bot - an AOL IM Bot which notified you when blogs you like are updated. I also built IcyPole, a bluetooth based P2P mobile phone app in 2004. With Suzette, I've built Playground Finder - a community contributed site for parents to find playgrounds nearby and while traveling for their kids to play in. Its a "playground" for my social, location, community and mobile interests.
I live in Melbourne with my wife Suzette, son Oskar Tex and my little girl Jasmine

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