eMusic carving out their no-DRM niche

Great, great article at ArsTechnica (an excellent computer-geekery site), regarding the rise of eMusic thanks to their business model eschewing cumbersome digital rights management (DRM) copy protection schemes. The problem with this model is that none of the major labels are willing to distribute their product electronically without DRM, so eMusic has to “settle” for indie labels.

Well, turns out this isn’t a huge problem after all. In an encouraging sign for the state of music today, apparently eMusic has a 12% market share of digital music downloads — and if the article is right, there’s plenty of room for growth, as the “bands found on the site account for almost 30 percent of sales in the US music market” — all this despite the fact that not one major-label release is anywhere to be found. I think that’s pretty great. And, equally amazingly given the ridiculous cheapness of eMusic downloads (you can literally get full albums for 25 cents), apparently their business model is making money.

On a side note, I find it fascinating, and pretty shocking, that the average age of eMusic’s customer base is… drumroll… 39! Really? I wonder what the average age of an iTunes customer is — or for that matter, the average age of anyone that downloads (legal) music. Probably at least a decade younger.

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