emusic just released an OS X download client, which is great because I just got hooked on the service. After getting all hopped up on the iTunes store last week, began to read more and more pieces making the points that A) the .99/track price at the iTunes Store isn’t so impressive when you compare it to eMusic’s all-you-can-eat chuck-wagon smorgasbord for $10 or $15 month and B) emusic’s catalog will be more up your alley if your tastes veer off the Billboard Top 100.
The emusic subscription pays for itself if you download an album per month. Many broadband users download an album per hour. But it’s not just about big value. In the past two days I’ve rediscovered The Fugs, The Cramps, The Kinks, Dub Syndicate, John Fahey and Bert Jansch, discovered Mission of Burma records I didn’t know existed, and fleshed out my Wes Montgomery and Leo Kottke collections. I’m not saying there isn’t lots of stuff I like from the Big 5 labels represented by Apple, only that it’s a lot more expensive and emusic is more in line with my tastes. Why not have both? Between the two you have access to a huge swath of both Top 100 and more obscure music. iTunes costs nothing to have access to, and emusic is way cheaper than my usual CD habit (which has abated greatly since Miles arrived).
One other important point: emusic is pure MP3, rather than DRM’d AAC. In other words, no “infected” files — no authorizing and de-authorizing computers – emusic puts the responsibility of not stealing music into the customer’s hands, rather than trying to solve it with technology. On the other hand, the iTunes interface rocks. On the other other hand, emusic can be used on most any platform.