eMusic has launched an a la carte download store, a move that opens up the download store a new swath of consumers who are not ready to sign up for one of eMusic's paid download tiers.
The company hopes that reducing the membership fee hurdle will bring more business, eMusic CEO Adam Klein said last month at CES , when the a la carte store was first discussed. Klein also hinted at additional additions to the store this year. "We have a number of exciting things we'll be announcing in 2013, many of which will be game changing and potentially industry-shifting. I'd venture to say that eMusic may even double its revenue in the next year."
A la carte buyers will have to pay more than eMusic members who buy a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual subscription plan. For example, Tim McGraw's new album Two Lanes of Freedom offers pricing of $0.69 and $6.99 for tracks and albums, respectively, for members compared to $0.99 and $9.99 for non-members. The new Jim James album Regions of Light and Sound of God costs $0.79 and $6.99 for members and $0.99 and $8.91 for non-members.
A consumer who buys only a few tracks or an album a month will save money under the new a la carte system. The least expensive subscription plan is $11.99 per month. Of course, the trick will be convincing music customers to buy at eMusic rather than iTunes, Amazon or Google Play. Heavy buyers will benefit from the lower prices offered to subscribers.
The move to reach out to new consumers is one of many efforts by eMusic to expand its offering and audience in recent years. The service originally offered an unlimited download subscription model but moved to a fixed number of downloads and higher prices as the quality of its catalog improved. Sony became the first major label to sign with eMusic in 2009. A deal with EMI in early 2011 rounded out all four (at the time) majors. It added audiobooks in 2007 and improved discovery with a radio function in 2011.