The mainstream media is beginning to take note of eMusic. The latest sign: a favorable article in USA Today, “EMusic’s pitch: Download song-and own it.” I found the very last section of the article most interesting, describing David Pakman’s attempts to convince major labels to participate:
He has a juicy pitch: Give him out-of-print material that consumers can’t get their hands on and let him promote the material heavily on eMusic, minus DRM. . . . The proposal has been accepted at all the major labels by lower-level digital executives, but gets stuck when it goes up to the executive suite, Pakman says. It’s a fun idea to consider, he says, but he assumes it will never happen.
Well, at least it won’t happen until the “executive suite” runs the major label music business into the ground, and “lower-level digital executives” take over. And Pakman is talking about out-of-print material, so any revenue would be pure profit for the labels, with no risk of lost revenue due to displacement of CD sales. This reminds me of the quote I saw once, that if you offered record companies a choice between making more money and having more control over their customers, they’d go for more control 100% of the time.