Epitaph, eMusic Part Ways; Pricing Differences Cited

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Epitaph Records is now splitting ways with eMusic, a significant loss for the independent retailer.

“The much-admired Epitaph record label — including the Anti and Hellcat labels — has chosen to no longer sell their catalog on eMusic in the US,” wrote eMusic chief executive David Pakman in his blog, 17dots.com.  The decision removes content from a number of influential punk acts, including Bad Religion, Agnostic Front, NOFX, and Rancid.

Epitaph made the split because of pricing disagreements.  The label preferred a standard, 99-cent per-download valuation, though average eMusic pricing frequently drops below that.  The company allocates downloads into monthly subscription tiers, and higher packages – if maximized – push a-la-carte tags towards 25-cents.

That was also the motivation for an earlier fallout involving Victory Records, though Pakman underscored the need for greater consumer value.  “At a time when the music industry is in such steep decline, our research and experience shows us that consumers are still willing to buy music, provided the value is right,” Pakman penned.  “And 99-cents a song is not an acceptable price point for all consumers.”

Epitaph will soon be starting a relationship with the Alternative Distribution Alliance, or ADA.