emusiclogoso, today, i went so far as to join emusic, something I never thought I’d do. But iTunes is pricey at $1 per song, and $10 per album. So after checking out an artist on the Daily Dose Podcast (one I contributed to for a while, and will be again soon), I saw that they were on emusic. So, i went to see.

I signed up for the 25 song free trial. And at first, was bummed because I couldn’t find the Ray LaMontagne album I wanted. So, I did a browse. And found a Bjork Soundtrack. Then I got Yo La Tengo’s “I am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass.” The title alone is fantastic, and the music is so good, it makes me want to play in a band again. It’s inspirational to the musician in me. Then, I saw Belle and Sebastian’s “Push Barman to Open Old Wounds,” which I’ve been wanting for a while ($20 on iTunes). I’d already downloaded my 25 free songs (or would have if I tried to download just a part of the Belle & Sebastian album). My experience was going so well, that I went for it. I now had 40 downloads for the month of Oct. All for $10.

Now, emusic doesn’t have the selection iTunes does. It has a VAST selection, though. It is a website, not a desktop app, so you have to deal with that. There IS a download manager program for both Mac and Windows. I mention that because in the middle of downloading the albums, my machine had a kernel panic. FOr those of you not in the Mac/Unix world, it means my computer crashed. I rebooted the machine, and opened the download manager. There was no list of songs. It LOOKED like I had lost them all.

I went on to the emusic website, and checked their FAQ, which told me to re-select the songs I had already “purchased” and download them again. I did so (easily, since emusic has a “download all” button on each album page), and they showed up in my download manager. And I was NOT CHARGED for them a second time!!! WOW! Thanks, emusic! I also can download them again and again on as many computers as I like. I can put them on as many mp3 player devices as I want. And I can do what I want with them. That’s my kind of buying experience. I kind of wish they had a “gift card” service, so I could buy just the amount I wanted to spend, and then have that many downloads to get until I paid more money. The monthly charge will keep the money rolling in to them, so I can’t quite blame them. But at least I OWN the music, as much as if I bought the CD and ripped it myself.

So, to summarize, emusic = pretty damn good. iTunes = good, but getting less compelling.

(in full disclosure, I still download tv shows i miss getting on tivo via iTunes, but that’s not the musics, so it doesn’t count.)

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