updated 10:05 am EST, Tue January 12, 2010
eMusic plans recovery with label deal
eMusic on Tuesday said it has signed a deal with Warner Music Group to add the latter's music collection to its subscription download service. The deal echoes one landed with Sony last year and will give eMusic about 10,000 albums. However, as with the 2009 agreement, the terms only include back catalog titles and exclude newer releases.
No reasons have been givne for the deal, but major labels have historically been resistant to offering their most recent content to eMusic out of profitability concerns. An eMusic subscription starts at $12 per month for 24 songs, leaving just 50 cents a track to be split between eMusic, the artist and the label. Most other stores have prices ranging between 79 cents and $1.29 per track and are still likely to earn more money from whole album sales.
Company chief Danny Stein nonetheless says in an interview today that the music service intends to grow by offering a streaming music option sometime in 2010. The primary obstacle is getting labels to "take on new business models," Stein explains.
eMusic was once one of the largest online music stores available but has struggled along with just 400,000 customers owing both to the mandatory subscription as well as the lack of major label content. Most eMusic material is provided through independents like Matador or Six Degrees and so far has appealed only to a subset of the wider audience.