eMusic, the online music download store that started in 1998, has announced that it has added music from its first major label, bringing in Sony’s ‘classic’ catalog, all music that is 2 years old or older.
The store has offered a subscription based model and DRM-free MP3s since its release, and has tracks from thousands of indie labels.
During its 11 years, the company has attracted over 400,000 paying customers, each paying $12 USD per month.
Sony feels placing its newer, more popular songs into eMusic’s unlimited, DRM-free service, is too risky and has therefore excluded the songs. However, Sony’s classic catalog is still very large and includes hits from top name artists such as Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Usher.
There is a catch though. “As part of the deal, eMusic says it will slightly raise prices and reduce the number of downloads for some of its monthly plans.”
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Concert promotion giant Live Nation and ticketing juggernaut Ticketmaster are planning to merge into a single company. The new company, which they intend to call Live Nation Entertainment, would arguably be the single most powerful force in the US live music business. And that is why it wlil be getting an enourmous amount of attention from the Federal Governmment before they allow it to happen.
Ticketmaster’s near-monopoly of ticket sales in major US concert venues in the 1990 was the subject of more than a little controversy. During that time Pearl Jam famously boycotted Ticketmaster-served venues in protest of the service fees they charge for each ticket.
More recently Bruce Springsteen has railed against the company for allegedly redirecting ticket buyers to the website of a subsidiary, which then charges an additional markup beyond the standard price.
In the last few years Live Nation has managed to become a serious competitor in the ticketing business. Last year they also made headlines by sgning Madonna to a so-called 360 deal, which involved a three album deal with Live Nation owning the albums as well as all merchandise rights and tour profits in exchange for $120 million.
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Citing a change in the musical landscape over the past few years, the rock band The Smashing Pumpkins have announced they will no longer record any new albums and instead will release singles for iTunes only.
The once extremely popular band who took a 7 year break before returning in 2007 noted that “disappointing sales and a comparatively poor reception” for their comeback album ‘Zeitgeist’ also influenced the decision.
Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins guitarist and lead vocalist, added, “We’re done with that. There is no point. People don’t even listen to it all. They put it on their iPod, they drag over the two singles and skip over the rest.”
“The listening patterns have changed, so why are we killing ourselves to do albums, to create balance and do the arty track to set up the single? It’s done.”
Corgan does feel there are some artists that can “buck the trend” because of how influential they are.
“When Bruce Springsteen puts out a new album, I pay attention. Same with Neil Young. Because they’re major artists who have something to say. I consider us in that category. When we do something it should be taken seriously, even when we’re off.”