I appreciate the contratrian nature of this article but I have to whole heartedly disagree. Not because I think eMusic is going to "help musicians quit their day jobs" but for these reasons:
- iTunes copy protected tracks have also been flatlining of late in case you didn't notice I think it's at about 25 songs per ipod sold.
- comparing eMusic sales toe to toe with iTunes sales doesn't give you a correct measure of the fate of non-copy protected tracks (non-DRM) because Apple is a mega corporation whose hardware has sky rocketed their iTunes store. I don't think that it will stamp out more independent and customer/independent-musician friendly downloading services.
- The whole idea for subscription services are that a lot of people aren't using their subscriptions to the fullest so all the math in this article is kind of silly. It's like cell-phone minutes. Just because they provide a certain amount of subsciption minutes doesn't mean all of those minutes are used by the customer.
- iTunes isn't helping musicians quit there day jobs either. The formula remains that record labels (small and large), promotion teams, hard work and just damn good music are bringing musicians into financial solvency and emusic and iTunes are just other tools in the belt of a struggling musician. Sure there are a few iTunes success stories but not enough to change the game.
- there is nearly zero distribution and manufacture cost for artists and record labels on these sites and that means that overhead is way less and product is infinitely available. Which means, especially for artist pressing their own CDs any online sale is icing on the cake because it doesn't take any of their units (which are often limited)
- And finally I think it's great that big record companies can't make ends meet on a diet of downloaded music, because record companies have been fucking musicians for almost a hundred years. And now it makes a lot more sense for an artists to stay independent. DRM or no-DRM music the record companies are losing their iron -grip on the machinery of musical success.