eMusic Raising Subscription Rates; Entry Level Affected

  • Save

eMusic is now raising rates on its entry-level subscription tier, according to details shared by the company.

The online music store bundles a pre-set number of downloads into various monthly packages, a cross between a-la-carte and subscription offerings.  A formal announcement will be shared with existing subscribers later this morning, and changes go into effect July 17th.  Newer subscribers will experience the elevated rate immediately, according to plans revealed to Digital Music News.

The changes specifically affect eMusic Basic, a first-level plan that currently offers 30 monthly downloads for $9.99.  That price point will move to $11.99, though existing subscribers will be given an extra 10 downloads per month to soften the blow.  For some Basic subscribers, the modified package translates into a monthly allocation of 50 downloads for $11.99.

The increases will affect members within the US, UK, and EU.  Canadian subscribers will not be affected by the changes, according to the company.

Discussing the changes, eMusic chief executive David Pakman pointed to continued improvements and steady pricing.  “It’s been about five years since we bought the business and changed the pricing last,” Pakman told Digital Music News.  That period witnessed the addition of millions of tracks and a major editorial overhaul.

The upgrades generate more cost, though Pakman countered suggestions of financial distress.  “The business has had a substantially great year,” Pakman noted. “There is zero risk on the financial side.”

Pakman envisioned bigger take-rates and revenues, and larger payouts for everyone.  “The check always gets bigger because we get larger,” Pakman explained.  “Some of this increased revenue goes to the label, and some of it goes to us, and we intend to spend it.”

Now, the question is just how consumers will react, though Pakman expressed confidence in his targeted, indie-focused audience.  The changes have no impact on more serious buyers, including Plus, Premium, and annual subscribers.  But entry-level fans could drop out, depending on their level of price sensitivity.  “It’s our mission to get more and more people buying more and more music,” Pakman indicated.  “We still now provide a really nice incentive to get them to pay more per month.”

Whether buyers will bump into higher packages remains unclear, though the differences between the plans have been narrowed.  For example, the eMusic Plus plan offers 50 downloads for $14.99 per month, while a Premium account bundles 75 downloads for $19.99.