Furries, eMusic and Def Leppard (in that order)

Okay, tonight I have a very schizophrenic post for you all.

First things first, I went to AnthroCon this weekend, the largest furry convention in the world. Now, I am not a furry, but the con was literally 10 minutes from my house and since one of my best friends from college (who is a furry) was coming in for it I thought I’d go with to see what all the furry fuss was about.

It was…weird. I don’t get it and I don’t think I ever will. However, they night they had a rave, and I love me some techno. I also figured this would be a great chance to get some amazingly bizarre video and I was right, so check out my YouTube channel for furry insanity on the dance floor.

On the completely other end of the spectrum, I’m pissed off about something. Shocker I know.

I don’t buy a lot of music online, I prefer to own a physical copy of my tunes, primarily because I don’t trust my hard drive but also because I think not having a physical copy devalues the music experience (it’s complicated and not the point of tonight’s rant). When I do buy music online I generally buy it from eMusic. I’ve been a subscriber to eMusic for years now and have always found their monthly subscription plan options to be a great deal. For years I on a $19.99 monthly plan that gave me 75 tracks. That’s a partly 26 cents a track. Bitchin’.

I love eMusic not only because of how cheap the music is, but because of the music they have available. It’s a great place to pick up electronic music, I found a ton of excellent and hard to find drum ‘n’ bass, experimental electronica and other odd shit that sure as hell wouldn’t be on iTunes.

But things on eMusic are changing. This month they added Sony’s back catalog to their service. So now in addition to downloading the latest tracks by Venetian Snares, Ed Rush and Dan Deacon, I can get vintage Bruce Springsteen, The Clash and even Pearl Jam. Sounds awesome right? Oh hell no.

First of all in order to do this they had to change their pricing. My $19.99 a month plan no longer exists, it was replaced by a $20.79 plan. That doesn’t sound to bad right? Well, they also cut 25 tracks out of that deal. Now I only get 50. Although it’s not 50 tracks, it’s 50 “credits.”

Before this every track cost the same, and everything was priced per track. So if you bought a 5-track EP it took five download off your limit, if you bought an album that had 30 tracks, it cost you 30 downloads. There were problems with that system to be sure (you wouldn’t buy classical music or a mix CD with that set up) but it allowed me to score a shitload of EPs dirt-cheap, and you would occasionally find an epic one-track CD, netting you an hour or so of music for the cost of a single download.

Now its by credits, individual songs still cost one credit, but if you elect to buy by the album your pricing will vary. Sometimes its good, most regular length albums cost 12 credits, even if they have upwards of 18 songs. That’s like getting six songs for free. However, there are some massive fuckups with this system. Want this 3 Song Sampler by Foo Fighters, that’ll be 12 credits. Why? Who knows . What about the two track Springsteen single for “My Hometown“? That’ll set you back 12 credits as well. Ditto goes for the Franz Ferdinand remix EP, four tracks – 12 credits.

You may be thinking “well, I’ll just download the one song I like off the album then.” Well…fuck you that’s not going to happen. Many (so very many) of the albums feature “album only” tracks. So if you want “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” off of My Hometown, you have to spend 12 credits. On my plan that’s about $4.92. On iTunes you can buy that song for 99 cents.

Then there’s the labeling of the songs themselves, check out that Franz Ferdinand EPs again, notice anything odd about them? There’s no remix information! So if I want to know who did the remix of “Do You Want To” I have to go to iTunes. And not only does iTunes have that information, you can also buy each track individually there! And don’t even get me started on the problems with the Michael Jackson singles, holy shit what a mess.

The reasoning behind the “album only” downloads is complete bullshit as well. As expected many long tracks are unavailable without buying the whole album. This is not unique to eMusic, iTunes does the same thing. In both cases it’s total bullshit but whatever. But check this out. “Sweet Dreams” is an album only download. Why? Because they know that everyone wants that track the most, so they make it impossible to download separately.

Then there’s the mess all these additions has made to the category system. I mentioned before that I go to eMusic to pick up new electronic music, now when I browse that section I have to wade through new “electronic” acts like Mariah Carey, C&C Music Factory and Bette fucking Midler. Who the fuck goes to eMusic to buy Mariah Carey?

To me this is a legendary example of not knowing your customer base. When eMusic started they were they only online music store that offered DRM-free MP3s. Because of this many major labels wouldn’t deal with them. They adapted, branding themselves as the online store for independent music. In doing so they built up quite a user base of discerning music fans, people who seek out hard-to-find or under-the-radar acts. The people who buy music at eMusic buy Dinosaur Jr., Spoon and Cat Power, they do not buy shit like The Fray, Chevelle, Ted Nugent or Mariah Fucking Carey.

And there’s more bullshit too, how about removing unlimited redownloading, not allowing some albums to be downloaded with free trial credits and not allowing most of the new expanded catalog to be available in countries other than the US (they still get the fucked up new pricing scheme though).

I understand that I’m still getting a deal most of the time when compared to the prices of other services like Amazon or iTunes, but for every dealI can find there’s usually at least one gigantic rip-off. eMusic used to be the place to find hard to find and niche music at a fair price. It is no longer that place and now there’s no need for eMusic.

Franz Ferdinand
Take Me Out (Morgan Geist Remix)
Take Me Out (Naum Gabo Remix)
These remixes aren’t on that previously mentioned EP that eMusic is gauging its users over. They were taken off of a strange white label promo I picked up last week. This promo was scratched to holy hell so the beginning of each is a little damaged, but after the first 30 seconds or so both sound fine.

Narnia (Bill Laswell Remix)
Facing The Plastic (Mindless Self Indulgence Remix)
Serart was a musical collaboration between Serj Tankian of System of a Down and folk musician Arto Tunçboyacıyan. They teamed up to explore experimental combinations of folk, rock, spoken word and world music to create an album that sounds unlike anything you’ve really heard before. It’s intelligent, unique and an altogether magical listening experience. So when it came time to release remix promos they called Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Urine. Makes sense to me.

Def Leppard
Nine Lives (Def Leppard Version)
Finally. After begging months ago I was able to track down the Tim McGraw-less version of this Def Leppard song, which was on the Japanese version of their latest album, Songs from The Sparkle Lounge. Still not a great song, but with 100% less country twang it sure is a fuckload better.

6 Responses to “Furries, eMusic and Def Leppard (in that order)”

  1. Stu McPoo says:

    The whole eMusic thing fucking blows, thanks for the heads up. I'm in the UK and haven't received notice of my subscription going up, or any change to my download package, but I'll be giving them the boot if they do. I'm still pretty peeved when they shifted me from the US to the UK eMusic and almost doubled my subscription, under the guise of it being "the same price" – since when has £14.99 been the same as $14.99?

    I've been with them for many years now and echo your sentiments – one particular fury is I cannot recall how many times I have BEGGED them to provide full/correct track information to no avail. And, prompted by your post I've had a poke around and, sure enough, there are plenty of tracks there that are only available on download of the full album. I'll keep an eye on this but I'm taking a stand pretty quickly if this really takes hold. I'm not rewarding them with my money when they're hellbent on taking the piss like this.

  2. jonderneathica says:

    I agree with you completely about eMusic. Either they don't understand that their customer base appreciates hard-to-find music and reasonably priced DRM-free downloads, or they've decided that it isn't worth keeping the crate-diggers as subscribers in their quest to become a bargain basement iTunes. That's a terrible run-on sentence, but that's how I feel about eMusic.

  3. Rekanize says:

    I didn't realize about the removal of unlimited redownloading… If anything, that's saved my bucket on a few occasions.

    One complaint I haven't heard here yet is the bit rate of their tracks… It akways varies wildly, and I'd be excited to find some hard-to-find classic dance track, only to find out that it's 128kbps.

    But the proper track information has always been a sticking point, as well as missing or corrupted tracks, or even multiple disc releases missing a whole disc.

    Despite all this, I'd stuck with eMusic, even coming back to it after swearing (in frustration) "never again."

    I dunno if I'll hold on to my account this time around. It's a pity, all things considered, because they did have some good not-quite-obscure-but-unheard-nonetheless jams on there… They even had the Ed Banger catalog on there (very very briefly).

  4. Farrakhan Faucet says:

    R.I.P. Michael. R.I.P. eMusic. I canceled my subscription on the last day of the old system – wow – so glad I did, that new world would have really steamed my jeans. So sad. When it was on – eMusic was wonderful. But what a buzzkill when "finds" like A House sound like a worn out cassette and Flesh For Lulu's "Long Live the New Flesh" is for UK only. Que cera. Something will spring up in its place. And if not, I have a crapload of eMusic downloads on the iPod that I have under listened to.

  5. Jazz says:

    Man the music industry just seem to constantly fuck themselves… why?

  6. Anonymous says:

    So basically in order to make a deal with Sony, that bastion of integrity, eMusic has thrown its own integrity overboard as well. Ugh. Given this grand alliance, maybe next they'll add spyware to their tracks, so they can see how that works out…

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