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eMusic has passion. Its site reflects the personal intimacy of its staff, colourful but professional, serious but playful, ultimately obsessed with music. The eMusic editorial team provide recommendations and passionate reviews and interviews. eMusic is a community, not just a database. It avoids broadcasting the usual pop songs, instead focusing on the music scenes outside of the popular centre. New Age, Spiritual, Folk, Blues, International... this is a site for fans who are looking to learn about artists and who appreciate work that isn’t on everyone else’s playlists. It’s a smart outfit, too, a simple but sophisticated layout with an attractive colour scheme which asks you to explore its nooks and crannies through offering artistic photographs and absorbing article headlines. You come here to experience music, to be involved in its culture, its beating heart, not just to hear it, but to listen.
eMusic isn’t too concerned with offering out apps and software updates, it’s purchased tracks can be downloaded and played on almost any MP3-supporting device (which nowadays is most things). Instead its focus is on high quality music at a reasonable, but not amazing, price. You’ll instantly notice that the subscription fees are much higher than some of the other sites out there. But it’s not really a subscription in the sense of streaming as much music as you like, think of it as credit which you spend on only the tracks you most want. The more credit you buy the more free credit you receive and the more tracks you can download and keep. The downside of this is that any remaining, unused credit is not kept, each month starts anew. However, this can be seen as a positive attribute at times because it encourages you to explore the eMusic archives and follow recommendations to try out music you might otherwise not have bothered with. As such your music tastes develop and sophisticate through a kind of encouraged education.
Most tracks are $0.49 which makes them a lot cheaper than other sites out there, on a track-by-track basis. Albums also roll in at a surprisingly low cost. The site contains a flash music player and offers recommendations on appropriate software to use, though its own playing options are very limited. The FAQ covers a lot of issues, though somewhat worryingly a lot of them seem to be technical issues, so make sure your system is appropriate (in particular MAC users should check that their MAC and software will be compatible).
Over all eMusic is a great site for people looking for high quality music on the fringes of popularity. It’s a site about living with music, reading it, learning about where it came from and where it’s going, loving music for its quality and not necessarily just grabbing as much as you can. Its price options mean that most people can afford to use it in one guise or another. This is one for the outsider, someone who knows what they like in the music world and who wants it delivered with passion and ease. It’s a pleasure to explore the site and engage with the insight of its team. If you’ve looking for something that isn’t just a pop tune then take a look, this might be the site for you!
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