Published May 13, 2008For about two weeks, users of the popular subscription music service eMusic.com had access to the Rolling Stones complete catalogue from 1964 to 1970. It seems, however, that DRM-free downloads of a major artist have proved too good to be true, and label ABKCO have pulled the tracks, saying they have "decided that at this point in time we wish to further evaluate this area of the digital marketplace.
eMusic which just officially launched in Canada a few weeks ago is the nets second most popular music service (after iTunes), and operates on a subscription system where users can download a certain number of tracks for a monthly fee. Notably, all of eMusics material is in the form of high quality MP3s free of any Digital Rights Management schemes, and for this reason major labels have generally been avoiding it like the plague.
It was with much ballyhoo, then, that eMusic announced the license of the Stones catalogue through ABKCO (and distributed through Universal Music Group), and put the music up early last month. One can only assume, however, that not quite enough Ts were crossed and Is dotted to prevent some jackass from finding a loophole, and the tracks were removed a few weeks later. eMusic, for its part, posted a barely diplomatic message to its users saying: "Due to events outside of our control, the music was going down.
The statement continued:
"The shame here is that you, our customers, the exact sort of music fan that the music industry should celebrate and reward, suffers as a result of this classic industry snafu. While the industry concerns itself with arcane details, the music consumer -- a dying breed, mind you -- is restricted from legally acquiring music. It's a maddening situation that eMusic has been committed to repairing for the last ten years, and always will be: people don't mind paying for music so long as it's affordable and they aren't handicapped by DRM restrictions and the like when they pull out their wallets.
Well put. I guess for now, those looking for DRM-free MP3s of the Stones better stick to bittorrent.