Digital Audio Insider -- the economics of music and other digital content

  digital audio insider


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.

If you enjoy this site, please consider downloading a Layaways track or album from iTunes, Amazon MP3, Bandcamp, or eMusic. CDs are available from CD Baby and Amazon.


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November 17, 2010

A Major Indie Loss for eMusic
by David Harrell
eMusic banner

The upcoming addition of Universal content may mean a larger overall catalog for eMusic, but tomorrow's departure of Merge, Matador, XL, and others will leave a huge hole: As of today, four of eMusic's top 10 album downloads for the past month were released by the departing labels.

That number might be somewhat skewed, though, as eMusic sent out an e-mail last night encouraging subscribers to download albums from those labels before the November 18 deadline. Still, after today, some (if not all) of the releases from many of the biggest names in indie rock -- Arcade Fire, Belle and Sebastian, The National, Spoon, Vampire Weekend, Yo La Tengo, etc. -- will no longer be available from eMusic.

As of the first quarter of 2010, eMusic was paying labels 40 cents for an individual download, approximately 57% of what a label receives for a 99-cent iTunes download. (That amount varied each quarter, however, as eMusic pays labels a percentage of its subscription revenue, rather than a static wholesale price.) I don't have any information yet as to how eMusic's imminent switch from credits to currency-base pricing is going to affect label compensation. But the wording of this statement from Beggars Group seems to imply that relatively recent changes in label relations/compensation are the reason for its departure.


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November 16, 2010

Some Free Beatles/iTunes Headlines
by David Harrell
You won't find a bigger Beatles fan than this blogger (as a kid, I even named the family dog "Rickenbacker" after John Lennon's preferred brand of electric guitar), but I found today's iTunes announcement a little underwhelming. Not quite the, uh, revolution (perhaps a streaming music service or cloud-based iTunes libraries) I was hoping for.

While I wasn't on the record with a prediction for today's news, I wasn't surprised. In their early days, the Beatles generally released an album and/or single late in the year -- Beatles manager Brian Epstein had overseen his family's chain of record shops and was obviously well aware of seasonal buying patterns. Last year's release of the re-mastered Beatles CDs continued that tradition, as does today's announcement.

I'll be writing more about the Beatles in iTunes soon. In the meantime, here's a quick list of "free" headlines for any blogger or music/tech writer in need of something that incorporates a Beatles song title. :)

The Ballad of Jobs and Yoko:
How Apple Finally Landed the Beatles

Now for Your Shuffle, it's Savoy Truffle
Beatles Music Now Available in iTunes

Got to Get You Into My iPod:
The Beatles, Now Available in iTunes

There's an Apple in Strawberry Fields:
The Beatles Finally Come to iTunes

Do Let Me Download:
The Beatles, in iTunes at Last

The Beatles on CD?
That's So Yesterday

Back in the ACC:
The Beatles, Now Available in iTunes

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Jobs
The Beatles, in iTunes at Last

All Together Now:
The Beatles and iTunes

Fixing a Hole in Your iTunes Library:
The Beatles Now Available for Digital Download

Download the Beatles?
You Can Do That

There's a Place in iTunes for the Beatles

It's Been a Long, Long, Long Time
The Beatles, Finally Available in iTunes

I'm Happy Just to Download You:
The Beatles Are Now Available in iTunes

Please Please Download Me:
Beatles Music in iTunes at Last

Buy the Beatles, Any Time at All:
The Beatles Are Finally Available in iTunes

What Goes On Your iPod?
The Beatles, Now Available in iTunes


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

    <a href="">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

    album cover art from The Space Between

    <a href="">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 or Napster.

    album cover art from We've Been Lost

    <a href="">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, 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, Napster, or Rhapsody.

    More Layaways downloads:

    download the Layaways at eMusic download the Layaways at iTunes

    the layaways website