Posted by: William | May 31, 2008

eMusic Downloading Service

I’m a big fan of music. When Napster came around I was all over it, when that got shut down and Grockser and Limewire emerged, I quickly joined the fun. In high school I downloaded loads of music, most of which I never listened much to, but occasionally enjoyed perusing my own collection yet unheard music. After I became a Christian, it wasn’t long before I stopped downloading music from the free programs and moved to more law-friendly services—such as itunes.

Unfortunately, itunes and its contemporaries aren’t too friendly on the pocketbook. But what’s more important than that, it’s difficult to sift through and find really good music. It’s easy to peruse the itunes libraries, but it’s hard to feel confident enough about some unknown artist to drop $10 – $15 on an album which very well may disappoint. Most of the editors picks are new or rising stars on major labels, with tons of production money thrown at them. If there’s one thing music lovers can really agree on, it’s that popular doesn’t necessarily equal good. The bottom line is, the popular music download providers are too expensive to really explore new music and discover really good music, and their heavy affiliation with major labels makes it difficult to find the rare gems of the little known music universe.

25966-hi-emusic Well, this week I discovered something outstanding. It’s a yet little-known company called eMusic. They deal only in independent labels. So if Beyonce is your thing, this probably won’t be for you. But if you’re like me and really love to explore new music and especially the lesser known stuff, eMusic is dream come true!

eMusic is a download service, fully legal and based in New York. They offer downloads at a fraction of the price you’d find them in their major competitors. A single song can be purchased for as low as about $0.25. However, unlike itunes or Amazon.com, eMusic is a subscription service. Which means that you fill up an account balance each month, then use it to download songs. $20 will get you 75 downloads. Spend the $20 up front, and download whatever you want until you’re out.

So, the pricing is right, but frankly great prices don’t mean squat if there isn’t also a great selection. Lucky for us, there’s an excellent selection! eMusic has a library of over 3 Million songs, all from artists signed to independent labels from all over the world. There is great music in every genre and editor picks from almost every genre.

Because of the vast number of songs and the likelihood that you’ll be exploring a lot of stuff you’ve never heard of before, eMusic has an excellent system for refining searching and browsing options. You can brows by genre, record label, artist, year, even what instruments are used. For someone who can usually describe what they’d like to hear, but not necessarily know who exactly it is that fits the bill, the browsing options are indispensable.

I signed up and have been having an excellent time browsing and downloading new music and I recommend you do the same. Here are just a few of the artists I’ve come to enjoy, thanks to eMusic.

 

11061961_155_155 Jah Cure

True Reflections… A New Beginning

Jah Cure is a combination of interesting Reggae, with some clear Indian influence. Most notable about the album is the vocals. While clearly fitting in the Reggae genre, there is also a unique tone or inflection in the vocals that bring something really fresh to the sound.

 

 

10814559_155_155 Jan Davis

Concert by the Sea

An entirely instrumental set of Latin tango guitar melodies. The rhythms are smooth and crisp. Every track proves excellent. I’m enjoying it even now, as I’m writing.

 

 

 

11008267_155_155 The Duhks

Migrations

Bluegrass in the same vein as Nickel Creek. The instrumentals have a traditional and often upbeat sound, but the vocals are contemporary enough to keep the less bluegrass-inclined crowd interested.

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