eMusic Surpasses 150 Million Download Milestone

Independent digital music store eMusic has now crossed the 150 million download mark, part of an accelerating sales rate.

The company, which brokers in mostly independent label content, packages its downloads within monthly subscription tiers.  Unlike most of its bigger competitors, eMusic enjoys a loyal following, one fostered by elements like compelling editorial, expert recommendations, and MP3-based content.  That has translated into increased sales, despite plateauing figures for the larger digital download space.  “Even as research shows that overall paid download growth is slowing, eMusic continues to attract new customers and sell more music,”” said eMusic president and chief executive David Pakman.

eMusic claims a second-place spot behind the iTunes Store, a position also claimed by Rhapsody.  But Apple is brokering in multi-billion sales totals, part of an incredibly lopsided race.  Whether eMusic can ever command those levels remains doubtful, though the company may soon position content from majors EMI Music and Universal Music Group, both of whom are engaged in DRM-free experiments.  eMusic is likely to pick and choose among the available content, and avoid mainstream pop.  But the catalog shift could change the game for eMusic, and allow the company to court music fans that want broader content availability.