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Digital Audio Insider is David Harrell's blog about the economics of music and other digital content. I write from the perspective of a musican who has self-released four albums with the indie rock band the Layaways.

My personal website has links to my LinkedIn and Google+ pages and you can send e-mail to david [at] thelayaways [dot] com.

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May 05, 2008

No More Stones
by David Harrell

eMusic banner

It was fun while it lasted, but eMusic yanked the Rolling Stones (and other ABKCO releases) from its catalog. (Thanks to ConceptJunkie for info!).

From the message board post by an eMusic employee:
Before posting the ABKCO catalogue on eMusic at the beginning of April, we pursued every level of due diligence possible. We triple- and quadruple-checked with every possible party at both ABKCO and Universal Music Group, which distributes the label, and the word was unanimous: let's do this. Green-lit, we proceeded to do what we do best: we got the best writers in the world to put it in context, and we presented the catalogue to you with an impressive amount of musical and historical background. ABKCO and UMG were both incredibly impressed by both the treatment and the sales: the catalogue (even stuff beyond the Stones) generated a huge number of downloads.

But this was not enough. Due to events outside of our control, we are being forced to remove the entire ABKCO catalogue from eMusic effective tomorrow morning. We hope to get them back at some point, but for now, we have no choice.
As I've written before, the effective per-song payout rate from eMusic varies, based on the total number of downloads by subscribers each quarter. But the most recent payouts I've seen for my own band are approximately 33 cents per track, a little less than half of the standard iTunes payout of 70 cents per track.

Yet given the popularity of the Stones catalog with eMusic subscribers, it seems likely that eMusic downloads were generating a significant revenue stream, one that didn't exist before the addition of the tracks to eMusic.

Perhaps the unknown party who nixed the deal feared that the eMusic downloads were cannibalizing higher-margin downloads from iTunes and Amazon MP3. But even if they were, the revenue loss would probably be more than offset by downloads by eMusic subscribers who previously had no interest in paying for Stones downloads. (Count me among them -- I nabbed "Child of the Moon," "I'm Free," "We Love You" and some other obscure singles and B-sides that I didn't own on CD, and never felt inclined to purchase at 99 cents a track...)

related: Like the Beatles in '64, Increased Per-Song Payouts from eMusic, More On eMusic Payouts

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    THE LAYAWAYS

    Out Now -- "Maybe Next Year" -- The New Holiday Album:

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-next-year">Joy To The World by The Layaways</a>

    "This is a sweet treat, deliciously musical without being overbaked for mass media consumption." -- Hyperbolium

    "Perfect listening to accompany whatever holiday preparations you may be making today." -- Bag of Songs


    O Christmas Tree - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    Away In A Manger - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Bandcamp. Listen to free streams at Last.fm.



    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between">Keep It To Yourself by The Layaways</a>

    "...about as melodic and hooky as indie pop can get." -- Absolute Powerpop

    "Their laid-back, '60s era sounds are absolutely delightening." -- 3hive

    "...melodic, garage-influenced shoegaze." -- RCRD LBL

    Where The Conversation Ends - free mp3
    January - free mp3
    Keep It To Yourself - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, iTunes, Amazon MP3, or CD Baby, stream it at Last.fm or Napster.



    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="http://thelayaways.bandcamp.com/album/weve-been-lost">Silence by The Layaways</a>

    "The Layaways make fine indie pop. Hushed vocals interweave with understated buzzing guitars. The whole LP is a revelation from the start." -- Lost Music

    "Catchy Guided by Voices-like rockers who lay it on sweetly and sincerely, just like Lionel Richie." -- WRUV Radio

    Silence - free mp3 lyrics and song details
    The Long Night - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.



    album cover art from More Than Happy

    "These are songs that you want to take home with you, curl up with, hold them close -- and pray that they are still with you when you wake up." -- The Big Takeover

    Let Me In - free mp3
    Ocean Blue - free mp3

    Download from eMusic, Amazon MP3, or iTunes, stream it at Last.fm, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website