eMusic Off The Market–For Now

Apr 10th, 2007 // 1 Comment

emusic.jpgLast month, rumors surfaced that MP3 retailer eMusic might be up for grabs, with Amazon mentioned a possible buyer. But Digital Music News is reporting that talks between eMusic and the online giant have broken down:

The result follows heavy speculation that Amazon would purchase eMusic, and use the MP3-based destination as its entry into the digital music market. But during conversations with Digital Music News, insiders pointed to a lapsed exclusivity window between the pair, and a no-deal result. “There were talks, but no deal was consummated,” one executive relayed. Additionally, the sources were quick to quash rumors of changes at eMusic parent company, Dimensional Associates, LLC, noting that the group is not seeking outside funds and remains committed to its eMusic property…

The result raises more questions than answers about the Amazon digital music strategy. Speculation has swirled around a possible Amazon entrance for years, though nothing concrete has materialized. One executive noted that the retailer would love to enter the market ahead of the holidays, though a launch strategy remains tricky. Aside from EMI, major labels are still brokering in protected content, a landscape that prevents access to the all-important iPod. Theoretically, an eMusic purchase would solve the DRM issue by offering largely independent content, while positioning a platform to accept future, non-protected major label catalog as the market evolves.

Whatever strategy Amazon winds up implementing, it better do it soon–as Hypebot points out, the company’s digital-music plan was flailing even before the eMusic talks stalled. Can’t Jeff Bezos just ride his space-ship over to Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s helo-pad and sort this all out before lunch? That’s how we always imagined these things went down.

Amazon, eMusic Buyout Discussions Unsuccessful, Sources [Digital Music News]

  1. Hrefna

    Given that eMusic and Amazon’s download TOS are about as far apart as they could be, in that eMusic sells music in the versatile mp3 format with no DRM, while Amazon requires video download customers to use the hellish “Unbox” software with its annihilation of consumer rights & privacy (seriously, if you want to keep control of your computer don’t install this software, no matter how many “free” downloads Amazon offers you, or at least wait until you’ve read Doctorow’s entertaining and informative rant on the subject and can consider yourself fairly warned), we should all be extremely glad that these talks broke down… I know eMusic isn’t the total bargain it used to be, but it is still offering fair terms of service. And after the Unbox fiasco and with even EMI moving towards a DRM-less future, I cannot see Amazon making any headway into digital music without a fundamental change in their download business model.

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