EMusic, the popular subscription-based music service, just announced that it has signed a deal with Warner Music, the world's third-largest music company. This is eMusic's second deal with a major record label. In its early days, eMusic mostly focused on featuring music from independent labels. Since the middle of 2009, however, eMusic has worked on expanding its reach by bringing more mainstream music to its catalog. The company announced a deal with Sony Music in June 2008.
Today's deal with Warner Music allows the company to add 10,000 additional albums from Warner labels like Atlantic Records and Rhino Records. Thanks to this, eMusic will now be able to feature music from artists like Eric Clapton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Depeche Mode. EMusic has about 400,000 paying subscribers.
From Quirky to Mainstream
For eMusic, this transition towards a catalog that focuses more on mainstream tastes has been rocky. When eMusic added the Sony Music catalog to its repertoire, the company also had to raise its subscription prices. Quite a few of eMusic's most loyal users were unhappy with the direction the service was going and left the service. So far, however, eMusic's users have reacted positively to the Warner deal.
Streaming Coming Soon?
According to eMusic CEO Danny Stein, the company also wants to offer a streaming music service in the near future. Stein told Reuters that the company still has to work out deals with the respective rights holders, though. Given that Apple just bought streaming music service LaLa, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that eMusic is also looking at streaming music. As consumers warm up to services like Pandora and LaLa, download services like LaLa and Apple's iTunes have to react to the trend.