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eMusic's non-DRM music store creeps into 2nd placecomment: 71 | Monday, July 31 (2006) 10:57AM | Posted by Lone
Most people like music. Most people don't like DRM.
A new USA Today article tells the story of how upstart eMusic, a purveyor of DRM-free MP3 music, is climbing over the top of some of the veterans in the digital download business (like Napster and Rhapsody), who sell music embedded with DRM. All of this despite the fact that the eMusic store lacks most of the popular record labels.
Apple has sold nearly 60 million iPods since 2001, and music fans regularly frequent the company's iTunes online store to buy songs for their iPods — giving iTunes a nearly 70% share of the music-download market.
Rivals Napster, Rhapsody, Yahoo Music and others compete with similar online offerings. Their songs don't play easily on iPods, however, hindering their growth.
Then there's eMusic and its more than 1 million songs, which do play on iPods — and the company isn't shy about letting customers know. "Get 25 free iPod-compatible downloads just for trying us out," eMusic says in its current TV ad.
Like Napster and Rhapsody, eMusic is a subscription service. Unlike those of its competitors, eMusic customers fully own the songs after downloading, with no restrictions. How does it do that? EMusic's songs are unprotected MP3s, which means they play on any device. Rivals sell copy-protected songs aimed at preventing unauthorized trading on file-sharing networks.
EMusic's supplying labels don't worry about such trading because eMusic users tend to be older, sophisticated music fans who are less likely to engage in online song-swapping.
Here's the January to May market share order according to the NPD research group:
Market share for online music retailers:
Apple iTunes: 67%
Real Rhapsody: 4%
MSN Music: 3%
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