Strong opinions, weakly held

More on eMusic

eMusic seems to be getting quite a bit of buzz around the Internet. (See James Governor’s pro-eMusic article today for more evidence.) Two weeks ago I had never heard of it, and now it seems like I’m reading about it everywhere.

The biggest marketing problem eMusic has, aside from not offering any of today’s popular hits for download, is that they don’t allow you to browse their full catalog before you sign up. To me, not offering today’s popular hits is actually a bonus, because I generally hate all of those songs. The other problem is ameliorated by the fact that they offer a two week trial during which you can browse the full catalog and download 50 songs which you get to keep. I signed up last week and I’ve downloaded 48 of my free 50 songs. (I grabbed one full CD with 18 tracks and another double CD with 30.)

I won’t be able to get every record I’m interested in from eMusic, but they offer enough stuff that’s of interest to me to make it worthwhile to pay $9.99 a month for 40 downloads, which is of course an infinitely better deal than the iTunes Music Store or CDs. And the music is unencumbered by DRM, which is the only reason I signed up. Their user interface is good enough and their download tool is a breeze to use, overall I’m impressed. Give eMusic a shot, the worst case scenario is you get 50 free tracks. (The actual worst case scenario is that you sign up, forget about your subscription and pay $9.99 a month for nothing. That’s always a risk for me.)

Update: Google seems to index eMusic’s music catalog, so if you want to know if they offer a particular band or album, just use site:emusic.com in a Google search along with the band name or whatever else it is you’re looking for.

Update: You can browse the catalog at this link, even if you’re a non-subscriber.


  1. I checked out eMusic the other day after your first post, but I didn’t sign up precisely because I couldn’t browse the catalog first and hadn’t heard anyone say more than what you put in your original post.

    I’m glad you posted a follow-up. I’ll take your word and try it now.

  2. Also, looks like you can skip the signup process and get to browsing if you just know where to go:


    I didn’t login or create an account and I was able to browse both using IE and FireFox. And if I wasn’t, you probably could by using the UserAgent Switcher plugin available for FireFox:



  3. Interesting. Last time i looked eMusic they did let you browse their catalog before signing up (though i recall it took a couple of clicks to find). It’s unfortunate that they took that away.

  4. If you click on one of the links at the bottom, like “About eMusic”, you can then click the “Browse” tab and look through the music. I wouldn’t know if that’s the whole catalog, but you can browse.

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