When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

03 February 2008

In heavy rotation: eMusic

I love eMusic.

eMusic caters to music lovers of all types in the underserved 25-54 demographic. It does so by cultivating a vast catalogue from the world’s top independent labels that spans every conceivable musical genre, by offering unrivaled music discovery tools and by providing tracks in a high bit rate (192K VBR) MP3 format with no DRM. It all adds up to a pro-consumer experience that gives subscribers the ultimate in flexibility, and just as importantly, ample opportunities to discover new, exciting music.

For a flat fee, you can purchase a package of downloads every month (I pay $19.99 for 75 tracks every month, or 27 cents a download for those of you too lazy to do the math at home; cheaper and more expensive plans are available for those who want to download less, or more, respectively.) One of the best features of eMusic is a preference matching engine that tracks what you download and suggests music you might like, based on what other users who have downloaded similar stuff are listening to.

Unfortunately for me, eMusic doesn't have an affiliate model, because I've certainly convinced a lot of people to try it; fortunately for you, they have a "get 50 downloads free" trial plan that you can check out for yourself.

Some recent eMusic finds, currently getting heavy airplay on iTunes at home, at work, and in transit:
  • Ze Records has reissued Was (Not Was)'s "Out Come The Freaks," a compilation of their work from the early 1980s complete with remixes and bonus tracks.
  • I've become very familiar of late with the gypsy-punk stylings of Gogol Bordello and the semi-deranged world music of Manu Chao.
  • The jazz section is just tremendous and features some wonderful live recordings. In recent weeks, I've download Bud Powell (At the Blue Note Cafe, 1961); Sarah Vaughn (Live at the 1971 Monterey Jazz Festival); Thelonious Monk (Live in Paris); and Louis Armstrong (at a much earlier Monterey Jazz Festival, in 1958.)
  • There are some delightful oddities, too. Last year, Lou Reed released an ambient music album called "Hudson River Wind Meditations." I've never seen it any place but eMusic.

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