eMusic comes to Canada

Independent music download service eMusic has announced its launch in Canada.

eMusic claims to be the largest retailer of independent music in the world. The company features more than 33,000 independent labels and more than 3.5 million tracks covering everything from classical to jazz, rock, pop, hip-hop, blues, country and more. The company has also expanded its catalog to include e-books.

eMusic doesn’t encrypt its music files with any sort of digital rights management (DRM) technology — they’re all available in MP3 format, and work equally well on the Mac and the iPod. Instead, eMusic offers its catalog up for download through a subscription-based program that limits you to a specific number of downloads per month. If you reach your limit, you have to wait until the following month before you can download more, and if you don’t use them all, you’ll lose any song credits you have left at the end of the month.

The company has differentiated itself from catalogs on the iTunes Store and Amazon.com’s MP3 store by focusing specifically on independent music, which eMusic says appeals more to an older audience. To that end, they also incorporate editorial content, columns, genre-specific newsletters, and the ability to view playlists and “neighbors” and “fans” to get ideas of new music to listen to.

eMusic has been selling tracks online since 1998; the company claims to be second to the iTunes Store in terms of number of downloads sold. eMusic reports having sold more than 200 million music downloads since November, 2003.

Canadian service to eMusic is priced at CDN$11.99 per month for the Basic rate (30 downloads), $17.99 for the Plus package (50 downloads) and $23.99 for Premium ($23.99). Audio books are priced at CDN$11.99 for one or $22.99 for two.

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