Friday, December 24, 2004

Is there hope beyond the major online music services?

As I look down the lists that are coming out of the top 100 songs or albums of the year, sadly, I see few that appealed to me. New, innovative music has been in the dumper for about a decade. Soul and R&B has been in the dumper for almost 20 years thanks to rap/hip-hop. Classical hasn't found a road home yet. Jazz, while going through a financial renaissance during the "smooth" jazz era, is very much dead and "smells funny."

iTunes, MSN, Napster, Wal-Mart and the other online services have catalogs of over one million songs. Sounds impressive but if your musical tastes don't fall into into the mainstream then you're out of luck. It's true that 80% of music sales come from 20% of the artists. So why should the big online services license the lesser knowns? I mean why cater to those who want to listen blues, jazz, progressive and other genres? Unless you want to download Britney, Ashley, or Janet from the major online music services, they aren't going to help you.

I found hope and it's called eMusic. This little-known online music service has a catalog of over 500,000 songs and they can be downloaded for as little as twenty-two cents! They focus on titles that the big stores aren't licensing. The songs come as mp3's and will work on any mp3 player like Rio, iPod, iRiver and others.

There are many gems to be found on eMusic. I downloaded favorites by Albert King, Badfinger, Credence Clearwater Revial, Bo Diddley, Booker T. and the M.G.'s, the Kinks, Frank Zappa, Gong, King Curtis, Michael Stanley, Robin Trower, Jethro Tull, Man, Synergy, Van Morrison and many others. There are also songs by Bush, Green Day, and many bands popular with indie music lovers.

The best part is by simply signing up for eMusic they give you 50 free downloads.

If eMusic is successful, and I believe they are, then the door may open for other services to offer more songs. Yes, one million titles seems like more than anyone would ever want and need but millions of songs have been recorded since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. There is a market for them and kudos to eMusic for making more of these songs available.

Copyright © 2004 James D. Fisher
All rights reserved.


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Lost & Delirious Girl said...

I like emusic too. :)

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said...



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