Does Everyone Want Out? eMusic Knocking the Exit Door

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Imeem and iLike were scooped for scraps by MySpace Music.

But Lala may have walked away with a respectable buyout, and now, eMusic appears to be angling for a favorable exit.  According to a Christmas Eve story in the New York Post, eMusic owner JDS Capital (the same owner as the Orchard) is “examining strategic alternatives for its business,” including a straight-out acquisition or recapitalization.  The company is also considering an on-demand streaming component to complement its subscription-based, download model.

These types of stories rarely just appear out of nowhere, and JDS is probably juicing the channels.  The Post notes that Best Buy and Rhapsody have already expressed interest, and eMusic chief Danny Stein (and JDS president) seems ready to talk.  “If an offer was made that created value for our shareholders, we’d listen to it,” Stein stated.

Okay then.  But who wants to buy this thing?  Question marks surround the scalability of an aficionado-focused, paid site, and indeed, Stein has been attempting to drive eMusic towards a broader audience.  But that appears to be eroding the core subscriber audience, and the company may be struggling to broaden its audience.  Meanwhile, former eMusic CEO David Pakman – who exited* in late 2008 – is now a venture capitalist at Venrock with a more modest (and probably realistic) concept of digital media growth.

*Pakman strongly objected to an earlier description that he was ‘pushed,’ noting that there is ‘absolutely no truth to the notion that I was pushed out of eMusic’.  The story continues…