updated 08:50 am EDT, Fri April 6, 2007
eMusic Profit on Apple
Online music shop eMusic may stand to benefit from Apple's deal to drop DRM on EMI music, according to Crave. Although iTunes will only begin offering protection-free music beginning in May, eMusic has depended on unguarded MP3 files as part of its business model. The decision by EMI could draw attention to eMusic's subscription-based service, which offers a set number of downloads per month.
The move may also pave the way for the store to sell its first music from a major label. EMI has so far refrained from announcing any deals beyond that with Apple but has openly invited other stores to adopt similar plans, including for different music standards such as MP3 and WMA.
The alternative store could also lure the most frequent iTunes purchasers away through its recently unveiled Connoisseur plans, Crave's Donald Bell says. While Apple's music service and other a-la-carte stores automatically escalate in overall cost with increased downloads, the new eMusic strategies assume a flat rate up to as many as 300 songs per month. The model lets the store offer songs for as little as 25 cents each, according to eMusic.
Apple has to date declined a subscription model, but has primarily argued against DRM-based subscriptions that forced owners to "rent" music and thus lose their existing access once the subscription ends.