What’s the story?
I hung on to the notion of buying physical products – CDs etc – way beyond the point where most people had become digital (and Apple iTunes in particular) reliant. I never really warmed to iTunes – I’ve still only ever bought four albums of it – but back in February 2007 a small independent site called eMusic did catch my eye. £14.99 a month, which back then equated to 90 tracks per month. More than enough, and a great way to access some cool independently released music. Ten years on and I am now considering making this month my last. I’m still paying £14.99 a month, for which – due to several changes to terms and the honouring of like for like matching whilst subscriptions stayed live – has meant that for around four years I have been able to download up to £37.80 worth of music a month. For the record, I rarely do.
You’ve just read that and thought why would I ever consider giving this up? It is a question I have asked myself many times over the last year – and when you consider that the cost is around 40p a track, which means you could buy Steve Reich: Six Pianos & Terry Riley: Keyboard Study #1 a 40 minute two track album today for 84p; as well as some of last years top rated albums from the likes of Nick Cave (£3.36); Bon Iver (£4.20); Angel Olson (£4.20), or this year’s new Run the Jewel’s Album (£5.88) all without making any dent in that £37.80.
Apple of my Eye
Here’s the thing. I have a paying Spotify account; in fact I have pretty much from when they introduced their mobile app. Most of what I have bought on eMusic I could listen to on Spotify. BUT … my default listening device is actually still not my phone, it is a full-fat 160GB iPod Classic. This more than anything has probably kept me connected to eMusic. It has also helped reduced to virtually nothing my CD buying – mainly due to space and storage constraints at home. The same cannot be said for Vinyl, which I have continued to buy.
Question of Faith
So, do I ditch eMusic and just focus on Vinyl and Spotify? I’m tempted.
Money Changes Everything
There are still artists of course complaining about the pitance that millions of plays on Spotify and other services bring in. I still thing there is an issue here, but as per usual the record companies are doing perfectly fine out of it, so it is not a question of the money not being there. I have said before, and clearly will now repeat, if you really love artists and want to support them, the best way to do it is: 1: Buy a physical copy – or I suppose a digital copy – of their record 2: Never play it. The moment you bought it, they will never earn a penny more from your kindness. 3: Anytime you want to listen to it, do so on a streaming service, thereby – even if it only a small amount – they will continue to earn money with your every listen.
Turn Back Time
Have I not just presented a strong argument to maintain my eMusic subscription BUT to abandon my iPod Classic. You spotted that huh.