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Emusic Vs. iTunes

Old 02-11-09, 12:39 PM
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Emusic Vs. iTunes

I was thinking about this the other day after reading an Ars Techna article about other services.

Emusic:

Pro:
Monthly subscription
Booster packs
Audiobook subscription available
Lots of obscure non-mainstream music
Easy interface
All tracks labeled correct and with artwork
DRM free (from the beginning)
Incentives for singing up new users
Exclusive tracks
Better "community" (when it comes to playlists and sharing options)
Can re-download previously purchased tracks

Con:
No music player software
No video or HD content
Price increases
A lot of labels not on board (Anti left not too long again...which is a bummer)
Web navigation (ties into player software)

iTunes

Pro:
Many mainstream artist
TV shows
HD content
Now DRM free
Improved iTunes GUI
Genius control
Podcast through iTunes story

Con:
Until recently, not DRM free
Pricing structure
All or nothing upgrade
No classic artists (Beatles and such...and a lot of others too like Kid Rock, although not a classic artist by any stretch)
Auto track naming (should be an option to point to another location if iTunes doesn't have it)
Inconsistent artwork
Slow download manager
Cannot download already purchased tracks

Cons for both:
Lack of artists
Incomplete albums (why does that happen?)


All and all if I had to pick one of the other, I would choose Emusic for the ability to re-download, having the ability to add to my subscription and the community aspect. iTunes however does have a lot of content, now DRM free, and has podcasts. However, both have their issues, but my biggie is how iTunes handels track names...there needs to be an ability to point to CDDB or Grace Note if it can't be found. And Emusic needs to have a player comparable to iTunes so it can ditch the web interface.
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Old 02-11-09, 01:03 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

eMusic is great. I love how flexible they are ... you can cancel for a while without wiping out your account history, or get the "booster packs" when there's a bunch of new stuff that you want. It's technically a subscription, but it doesn't feel like one.
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Old 02-11-09, 01:13 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Emusic is great, been a member for like 7 years. Try out one of their free trials if they are still around - get like 50 songs for free.
(if they aren't available, i can send you a referral for one)
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Old 02-11-09, 01:14 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

I wanted to add, that I was a downloader for years. And the reason I got into was because I didn't want to feel gouged by retail stores. It wasn't to get something for free or anything like that, I just didn't want to pay $18.99 for an old GNR album...period (and I wanted to backup what I had already, rather then rip it myself).

Along comes eMusic and they really hit the mark. The flexibility is great and like Walker Boh said, the fact that you can cancel and not have your history wiped is a big plus. Also to add to that, there is no cancellation fee (iTunes doesn't either, so no argument there) really drives the point home.
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Old 02-11-09, 02:19 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

I use Amazon. DRM-free, high bitrates, no subscriptions, very large selection.

Not sure what a "booster pack" is.
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Old 02-11-09, 02:54 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

I've also been buying a lot from Amazon for the same reasons as Suprmallet. I basically only use iTunes when Amazon doesn't have something iTunes does have.
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Old 02-11-09, 02:56 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I use Amazon. DRM-free, high bitrates, no subscriptions, very large selection.

Not sure what a "booster pack" is.
eMusic give you X amount of downloads of month...for instance, I have 75 for $19.99

When my 75 run out, I have two options, I can wait until next month or buy a booster pack. I think they are 15, 30, and 50 song packs start at $5.99 and going to $19.99...or something like that.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:02 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by bunkaroo View Post
I've also been buying a lot from Amazon for the same reasons as Suprmallet. I basically only use iTunes when Amazon doesn't have something iTunes does have.
I like Amazon too...but I wish their price structure was the same as their weekly deals. Meaning, if every album came in at $3.99, I might use it more. But at the present moment, the prices seem to be all over the place. But also, those start to rack up.

If it is $3.99 an album with 10 tracks...if I want to get to 70 songs...I am already spending more then I would with eMusic.

But to Amazon's credit, they make it easy to get stuff and they don't have DRM to worry about and most of the tracks are labeled correctly.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:28 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

eMusic.

Second for me would be Amazon mp3.

And I'm a big fan of Apple. I just think their pricing is out of line and the slowness of getting rid of DRM turned me off. I never use it. If I want something not on eMusic, I get it from Amazon.

I also have no problem with either web interfaces.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:29 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

I generally just hunt down the deals on Amazon. I've already got so much music I don't need to add 75 tracks a month.

A lot of those subscription sites only allow you to access the songs you've downloaded while you're still a subscriber. Is this true of eMusic?

Also, the fact that all tracks on iTunes are 128 kbps means that I will never purchase music from them. If they start offering higher bitrates I would reconsider.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:30 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

One downside to eMusic. I've "hit the wall" a couple of times where I run out of music I'm interested in downloading. Their selection is limited but I always find something new or interesting. When this happens, you can "cancel" and they will offer a $6.99 month and 20 downloads or something like that. So you can basically write off a month and still stay in service.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:32 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
I generally just hunt down the deals on Amazon. I've already got so much music I don't need to add 75 tracks a month.

A lot of those subscription sites only allow you to access the songs you've downloaded while you're still a subscriber. Is this true of eMusic?

Also, the fact that all tracks on iTunes are 128 kbps means that I will never purchase music from them. If they start offering higher bitrates I would reconsider.
My sub is 50 songs a month (formerly 40 a month). I generally have no problem finding 40 tracks. I only download full albums. If you like any indie type music, its all there. So for 13.99 I can get like 3 full albums.
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Old 02-11-09, 03:35 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

With the Amazon deals I can usually get three full albums for under $10, including bigger name artists.

Edit: But it's much more luck of the draw with that, obviously.

Last edited by Supermallet; 02-11-09 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 02-11-09, 04:06 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Amazon
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Old 02-11-09, 07:03 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

I've been with eMusic for years. I've bought maybe 10-15 albums from iTunes. I use iTunes to fill in the gaps with eMusic.
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Old 02-11-09, 07:40 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

The prices are less consistent on Amazon, but I find about 60-70% of the time they are lower than iTunes on the same albums.
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Old 02-11-09, 08:49 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
With the Amazon deals I can usually get three full albums for under $10, including bigger name artists.

Edit: But it's much more luck of the draw with that, obviously.
If you want albums by Duffy and Adele perhaps.

There are a lot of great deals on Amazon. Apple could learn something from them.
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Old 02-11-09, 09:38 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
If you want albums by Duffy and Adele perhaps.
Recent deals have included artists as diverse as Lily Allen, Miles Davis, The Animals, and Depeche Mode.
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Old 02-11-09, 10:08 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Also, the fact that all tracks on iTunes are 128 kbps means that I will never purchase music from them. If they start offering higher bitrates I would reconsider.
128 kbps AAC is on par with much higher bitrate MP3. MP3 generally sucks compared to modern audio codecs (which isn't surprising since it's getting close to 20 years old).

Anyway, the iTunes Plus (DRM-free) tracks are 256 kbps AAC.
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Old 02-11-09, 10:27 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Is that so? Very good. And that's not true about 128 kbps AAC. I've downloaded a few tracks from iTunes a while back and they had audible distortion from the low bitrate.
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Old 02-11-09, 10:38 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Is that so? Very good. And that's not true about 128 kbps AAC. I've downloaded a few tracks from iTunes a while back and they had audible distortion from the low bitrate.
Almost everything on iTunes is DRM-free and 256 kbps now. I think the plan is for it to be 100% by April, when the new variable pricing for tracks starts.
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Old 02-11-09, 11:35 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
If you want albums by Duffy and Adele perhaps.
Or Scott Weiland, The Verve, The Raveonettes, Snow Patrol, Tony Bennett, Glenn Miller, Bach, Howlin Wolf, The Beach House, Lucinda Williams ...

The iTunes store feels like a corporate coffee house -- even when they put indie bands on the main page, they're such orthodox choices. Amazon's selections feel like something someone with really cool but eclectic taste would collect.
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Old 02-11-09, 11:56 PM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

If I'm buying music online, the only way I'll buy it is a hard copy CD that I then rip myself, or DRM-free tracks I can continue playing after cancelling my subscription. I actually just cancelled Emusic last night--I had a "come back" deal, total of 75 tracks for 11.99. Picked them, downloaded them, cancelled.

I like itunes for free content--podcasts. I like itunes as a music library and management tool. I despise itms as a music purchasing service. How much are regular tracks there, 99 cents? For the little new music I'm interested in, I'm much rather buy a CD, especially if I can order directly from the band and give them more money.

I will say ITMS has it over emusic in terms of "popular" music selection. Too bad I don't like most popular music.

I wouldn't want an emusic player...I use itunes, winamp, or WMP...I don't need yet another one. I'm fine with the web interface and the downloader tool.

If itunes is not DRMing anymore, that's good, and it shows how long it's been since I've seriously browsed them to buy from....it also shows how hard it can be for a company to win back customers once they've left.

I know MP3 is lossy and not the "best" quality. I'm playing music on an ipod, with 10 dollar heaphones, or through an aux cable into my car stereo; or via TVersity through my Xbox only my home theater. I can deal with, and generally don't even notice, a little lossiness.
I will watch for Amazon deals, but I don't recall the last album/song I bought from them (I've downloaded some free promotional tracks from them).

I'm a dinosaur, I know, but if I'm paying "full price" for music, I want a disk. I'm fine with digital only when i get 6-10 albums for 11.00, but I can't make myself pay 8-12 bucks for one digital download of an album, unless it's totally impossible to find for a reasonable price as a disk.
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Old 02-12-09, 09:47 AM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Originally Posted by rmorgan View Post
Almost everything on iTunes is DRM-free and 256 kbps now. I think the plan is for it to be 100% by April, when the new variable pricing for tracks starts.
I have seen conflicting reports as to if these are still in Apple's format (m4a) or MP3. If it is still an Apple's format, they are still kind of useless, in my opinion.

Also I want to note that eMusic's tracks are at either 256 or VBR...it seems to be a mix in the tracks that I have.

And again I want to stress, if eMusic offered up free stuff (podcast), it wouldn't hurt.
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Old 02-12-09, 10:27 AM
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Re: Emusic Vs. iTunes

Apple recently changed the upgrade to DRM-free from all or nothing to a la carte. Still too expensive though.

My biggest problem with eMusic was that they kept things listed that were no longer available for download. That, and after a few months it started to be a struggle to find enough tracks I wanted to use all my credits. Since they don't carry from month-to-month, I ended up wasting them.

Haven't used Amazon much, but it's very nice. The downloading to itunes is seemless, and it's real competition for apple, which will (hopefully) benefit all of us.
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