I’ve been a long-time user of eMusic’s subscription service. One of the early online music services (selling DRM-free MP3 downloads since 1998), eMusic was the first of which I was aware to offer a subscription-based music sales model. They offer several different monthly packages for which you receive credits that can be used for purchasing individual tracks or whole albums. The cost per track ranges from $0.54 for an eMusic Lite monthly subscription to $0.36 for an eMusic Plus annual subscription. Many albums are available for 12 credits – or roughly $6, depending on your subscription level.
Until the middle of 2009, eMusic’s catalog consisted primarily of independent labels. In June 2009, though, eMusic struck a deal with Sony Music to offer Sony’s labels (Columbia, CBS, Epic, etc.) through their site. This added thousands of new albums from great jazz, rock, and classical artists to eMusic’s discounted offerings.
This week they took things even further, announcing a deal with the Warner Music Group, whose labels include Atlantic, Warner Bros., Elektra, and Rhino and whose artists include R.E.M., The Flaming Lips, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and Tom Petty. This deal added another 10,000 albums to their service. If you tend to purchase a lot of digital music, and you’re not bothered by a subscription model, check out eMusic here.