It was only a matter of time – most sites not named iTunes/Pandora/Amazon/Spotify have either closed or been bought out over the past few years … and frankly since it seemed that eMusic was unable to increase subscription volumes no matter what they did, I assumed they would eventually fold. Instead, today we learn that eMusic Merges With eBook Distributor K-NFB to form media content ‘One Stop Shop’. The basic idea is that you will be able to get your digital music, ebook and audio book needs met in one place.
eMusic has been around since 1998 and had long been THE place to go for indie digital music, until a couple of years ago when they sold out to the major labels to try to grow their market share (screwing over indies in the process). That effort gained a few new members, but lost others and ultimately had little net effect. More recently they made it so non-members could buy music from the site, but again must have seen little impact from that move – or more likely it was in preparation for this merger.
As part of the merger the “into a single company called Media Arc, Inc., which will offer a comprehensive source of more than 17 million songs, 40,000 audio books and 600,000 eBooks. Both eMusic and K-NFB will remain as operating units of Media Arc, Inc.” This according to a press releaseamong others.
K-NFB is most noted for the Blio eReader software created by digital media legend and pioneer Ray Kurzweil (there are depths to his K-2000 music synthesizer system I haven’t tapped in more than 20 years of using it!), which launched in 2010 as a competitor.
It is distinctly possible that this merger is simply a matter of survival – two decent companies with solid technical fundamentals but with challenging financial positions looking for a way to balance synergies to create a streamlined company that can leverage all subscribers across a single account system, reducing server and administrative overhead, and put their combined resources into growing their niche.
Do you think it will work? Or is this an example of people stepping off two sinking lifeboats and onto a sinking sailboat?