Inc. Magazine profiles eMusic and the way they dealt with their price hike last year.
Stein knew there was only one way to prevent even more labels from jumping ship: raise prices for subscribers. He also knew that eMusic couldn’t get away with another price hike without offering something in return. He sought ideas from his executive team and eMusic subscribers, and he held a series of focus groups. All the feedback pointed in the same direction: eMusic needed to broaden its catalog. And given that eMusic had nearly exhausted the universe of independent labels, Stein says, “It was pretty obvious that in order to take a big swing, we needed to start working with the major labels.”
I think the price hike was the right decision for emusic. Surely their plans weren’t sustainable. I suspect I made emusic very little with my 90-track a month plan, or I costed them money.
But it doesn’t quite address why a customer like me, who had an eMusic subscription for about 6 years, decided to leave.
I didn’t quit eMusic specifically because of the price hike, but the price hike revealed it sucks doing business in credits. Tracking credits is not fun. Sometimes I’d download all but one track from an album because I ran out of credits. I wouldn’t be able to complete the album until the next month.
Let’s put it this way: I had a reoccurring task in Omnifocus to make sure I used up all my eMusic credits each month. That’s not fun. It makes eMusic plans feel more like making car payments than discovering new music.
eMusic felt like work. It was a job I liked enough to stick around for until they moved my desk next to a guy who talks on speaker phone all day. I still did the same kind of work, but the environment changed. And I got other offers.
So I quit the job.