Victory Abandons eMusic, Pulls Catalog Following Price Dip

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Chicago-based Victory Records has announced its decision to pull its catalog from eMusic, following the launch of a new sales program from the independent retailer. The news first emerged last week and was confirmed during a conversation with Victory head Tony Brummel, who cited his lack of belief in eMusic’s new sales package known as Connoisseur, designed for heavy-buying music fans.

The bulkier bundles drive per-track download costs to 25 cents, if the subscriber maximizes the number of available downloads within the plan. Over the weekend, eMusic confirmed that it had received a letter from Victory Records requesting the subtraction of its catalog.

The decision could further cast Brummel as a digitally-unfriendly executive, particularly following a long-standing holdout involving the iTunes Store. But Brummel defended his decisions, and noted that Apple has unfairly boosted its profits based on the creative investments of labels like his. That echoes earlier sentiments, though Victory ultimately chose to license iTunes in September of last year, and the eMusic accord followed soon thereafter. In the discussion, Brummel showed no interest in fomenting a revolution, though his move could potentially influence other labels.

Victory Records is a leading independent record label that has been around since 1989. The label has worked with well-known artists such as A Day to Remember, Thursday, and Taking Back Sunday. The label has also been known for its long-standing legal battles with Spotify, in which it accused the streaming service of not paying enough royalties to artists.

The decision by Victory Records to pull out of eMusic raises questions about the viability of the Connoisseur program. The program was launched in an attempt to attract more heavy-buying music fans and to provide them with a more cost-effective way to purchase music. With the departure of Victory Records, the program loses a significant portion of its catalog, making it less attractive to potential subscribers.

In response to the development, eMusic president and CEO David Pakman underscored the need for newer business approaches. “We think the music industry must support varied business models and value propositions in order to grow again,” Pakman said in an email Saturday. “Every label gets shelf space at eMusic, and we believe we are helping to expand the market for independent artists.”

The move by Victory Records is not the first time that a label has pulled its catalog from a streaming service. In 2014, Taylor Swift famously removed her music from Spotify, citing concerns over the service’s royalty payments. Swift later returned to Spotify in 2017 after the service agreed to pay higher royalties to artists.

Overall, the music industry is still grappling with the transition from physical sales to digital streaming. While streaming services have become the dominant form of music consumption, many artists and labels have raised concerns over the relatively low royalty payments they receive from these services. This has led some to pull their catalogs from streaming services altogether, while others have chosen to pursue legal action.

In conclusion, the decision by Victory Records to pull its catalog from eMusic is a significant blow to the independent retailer’s new Connoisseur program. The move raises questions about the viability of the program and underscores the ongoing challenges faced by the music industry in the transition to digital streaming. As the industry continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see more conflicts between labels, artists, and streaming services over royalty payments and other issues.