eMusic.com launched back in the misty past of September of 1995, initially as a CD retailer in September 1995. They didn’t move over to their current subscription based model until 2000, but they’ve since sold more than 300 million music downloads from catalogue of 6 million tracks, from 60,000 record labels. They deal with Sony, but not any other of the other majors. They make up for this by a strong focus on new and independent music – a policy of obvious benefit to RouteNote users – actively promoting artists from labels like Warp, Domino, Beggars group etc. They also have a very active and trend-conscious blog, written by people who are keeping an eye on music that comes in to eMusic’s electronic fold, going some way to proving that they genuinely care about the music they sell.
RouteNote can distribute your music to eMusic; artist revenues are based on dividing a proportion of their total subscription fees between the artists that were downloaded, 1 download equaling 1 share of the divided dinero. Subscription costs are variable, but in the UK you’re looking at somewhere under £10 for a month, which buys you 40 tracks (25p each for those who hate maths as much as me). eMusic will then take their share, and pass on a cut to the artist. Good for the consumer who’s prepared to commit to a monthly outlay, not necessarily as good for an independent artist, who is looking at significantly less per track income than on iTunes, but then there is more chance of an indie-loving audience hearing and buying your music, and more chance of getting exposure on an indie based blog than on one where you have to compete with artists from all the majors with a huge budget behind them.