Emusic adds major labels, higher price tiers

November 20, 2010

(AP) -- Digital music subscription club eMusic launched a new pricing plan this week that charges more for new music but adds tunes from major labels in an effort to broaden its appeal.

In the past, the site focused on indie labels and offered discounts on tracks for members committed to spend at least $6.49 a month.

The previously plan offered song credits that priced songs at about 50 cents each. In the new plan, members will pay 49 cents for most of the tracks that were available before Thursday, but adds 69-cent and 79-cent prices for more popular tunes and charges 89 cents for newer tracks that usually sell on Apple Inc.'s iTunes store for $1.29.

Members still get song prices that are about 20 percent to 50 percent cheaper than , it said. Unused amounts are not carried over each month, unless a user has less than 49 cents left to spend.

The move allows the site to add newer songs from major labels such as and Corp. and tunes released more than a year ago from Universal Music Group.

It should help the site have "much broader appeal," said Adam Klein, a former strategy executive at EMI who became the company's chief executive in August. Previously, new members searching for material often found the wasn't available. "Those days are over. There will still be some blanks but it'll be a small percentage."

The price change is the most significant move undertaken since Klein came on board. The site, owned by private equity firm Dimensional Associates, has more than 10 million tracks, but none yet from major label EMI. It has about 400,000 members.

Apple introduced tiered pricing last year, breaking out of the 99-cents-per-song mold in favor of prices at 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29. The vast majority of the chart-topping songs now cost $1.29.

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