eMusic Music Store

eMusic Music Store

I remember the days when it was so easy to get the music I wanted. Jump on a PC at school, start up Napster, and download songs to my hearts content. Unfortunately, I now have to worry about lawsuits from the RIAA, which by the way is slowly becoming the second scariest acronym behind the IRS.

Now that I’ve gone legit, I get my music from CDs and the iTunes Music Store. However, recently I noticed one of the online music stores called eMusic was offering 50 free MP3 downloads, so I decided to give them a try.

eMusic is a little different than the iTunes Music Store because their catalog only consists of musicians from independent labels. That means you won’t find Britney Spears at eMusic, which is good thing. Also, with the eMusic Music Store, you can’t purchase individual tracks, instead you must sign up for monthly plans which allows you to download a set number of MP3s. Their cheapest plan at $9.99 allows for 40 downloads, which comes out to about 25 cents per song. So cheap that it’s like I’m stealing…I mean, downloading from the old Napster again.

It’s a great deal, but unfortunately, I’m not too familiar with groups on independent labels.

Fortunately, I got a few recommendations from occasional Impulsive Buy browsers, Kari, a former college radio DJ and Gabriel, a sleeveless taiko drummer. While looking through their lists of groups, I thought they were making up names, like The Postal Service, Interpol, Burning Airlines, The Impossibles, Slow Reader, The Music, Hot Hot Heat, Massive Attack, The Shins, and Morcheeba.

However, after searching through the eMusic catalog, I found out that they weren’t messing with my head. Although I didn’t find all the groups, so maybe they were messing with me a little.

While downloading their recommendations, I thought about how easy it must be to create a band name. As a matter of fact, it’s so easy that I created an equation for you boys and girls to remember so that you can create your own band names.

T + A + N = BN
(The + Adjective + Noun = Band Name)

With this equation I’ve created the following names: The Blue Quick, The Liberal Reporters, The French Fliers, The Rejected Credit Card Application, The Empty Wallets, The Stupid Presidents, and The Hyperactive Elementary School Kids on the Playground.

Many of the groups that Kari and Gabriel suggested were really good and it was great to hear something different than the 2,346 songs that were already on my iPod.

After downloading my 50 free MP3s, I decided to sign up for the $9.99 monthly plan, so I could download other groups I’ve never heard of.

(Note to RIAA: All songs downloaded during my misguided college years have been erased from the computer I was using at that time.)

Item: eMusic Music Store
Purchase Price: 50 Free Downloads + $9.99 for 40 Downloads
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Monthly plans are a very good deal. Good source for music from independent labels, with over 500,000 songs. No Britney Spears-type crap. Uses MP3 format, so no DRMs.
Cons: Bad deal if you don’t use up all your downloads during each month, which expire. Sometimes downloads are slow.