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Author Topic: Influencing EMusic  (Read 4208 times)

JimH

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Influencing EMusic
« on: November 04, 2002, 05:03:29 pm »

EMusic is as good a service as there is around right now.  It would be nice to see it survive.

I think they did the wrong thing in how they terminated some of our customers.  I think they are wrong to market it as "unlimited".  We have tried to back you up in our conversations with them.  I'm willing to risk our business relationship with them to do so.

However, I hope that you, their customers, will tell them politely but firmly what they want, and that they will listen.

Please help work this out in a spirit of good will, without any talk about lawyers.
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Nick_LeFave

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Re: THREAD LOCKED
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2002, 08:16:32 pm »

Jim,

This is the letter Emusic sent me. Before I post it, I admit it is a nicer, gentler sounding note. Of course it does come from legal@emusic.com. It refers to 7.1 which is a general right to refuse service clause. What does all this make me feel like? It makes me feel like a download criminal. Even before I got this note, I emailed Emusic and asked what is a "reasonable" amount of tracks downloaded? I also pointed out that the Emusic Download Manager is an automated download utility and appears to put me in violation of the TOS already. I want Emusic to define how much is unlimited. Then I'd know where I stand. I wouldn't be afraid to download something, not knowing if that was the track that was one too many. So Jim, if you can communicate to Emusic that they are leaving, at least, one Emusic user confused, I'd appreciate it. Also I do know that confusion, sometimes can lead to frustration which breeds ill will. Like you, I'd rather see Emusic survive, but to do that they are going to need to avoid ill will.

Admittedly, even I got steamed enough to check with my State's Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. But, I don't think it is malicious or even negative to know your consumer rights. I have used the information I learned from the consumer protection division to tell them firmly what I want, that being a definition of what the true amount to "unlimited" is. In my state, you can say "unlimited" and have it defined by a finite amount. You just need to disclose the amount. Also the amount has to be reasonably interpreted by a normal person as perceivably unlimited.

Again, Jim thanks for the forum.

Nick LeFave

(Note, I have always had the same "download" behaviour for about 1 1/2 years. Also, I am a reasonable person. If Emusic can't afford me to download a couple of CD's a night, then they can at least tell me how many is the limit. Also I overcounted how many tracks I have from Emusic. I only have about 40 gig worth. The rest of my tracks are legal copies of my own personal CD, vinyl ripped to mp3, or free downloads from MP3.com)

Quote
Subject: Important Alert Regarding Your EMusic Account Activity


Dear EMusic Subscriber,

Over the past several weeks we have noticed unusual activity on your EMusic
account. Your account has been identified as having download activity far in
exceeding that of the overwhelming majority of subscribers.  

Although EMusic's goal has been to help consumers discover, sample and
download a wide range of music for personal use and enjoyment, EMusic cannot
continue to operate as a legal source for indiscriminate downloading of
copyrighted sound recordings and musical compositions.  Unlike other online
music subscription services, EMusic has gone to great lengths to provide an
open, easy-to-use service, for a reasonable price.  Without regard to content
hosting, serving and administrative expenses, royalties payable to recording
artists and/or songwriters with respect to every downloaded track no longer
affords EMusic the luxury of taking these matters lightly.

In order to maintain EMusic's low price while providing a flexible and
compelling service, we must focus on limiting instances of service-abuse by
monitoring the site for unusual activity.  Examples of service-abuses include,
but are not limited to, password sharing and use of automated systems to
download quantities of tracks far beyond one's reasonable personal use.
Accounts found to be used in violation of the expressed or implied guidelines
of EMusic's service are subject to immediate cancellation. (See EMusic.com's
Subscription Agreement at http://www.emusic.com/bem/new_signup/terms.html,
particularly the termination provisions set forth in Section 7.1.)  We ask
that you carefully consider these guidelines and the EMusic.com Subscription
Agreement terms and conditions as you use the service in the future.

Sincerely,
EMusic.com
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JimH

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Re: THREAD LOCKED
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2002, 06:09:17 am »

Nick,
Good example of the kind of thoughtful behavior that could make a difference.

I've unlocked the other thread.

Jim
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Nick_LeFave

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2002, 04:36:05 pm »

Quote

Dear EMusic Subscriber,

Thank you for contacting us in response to our email
concerning your account activity.

The intent of EMusic has never been to enable
customers to indiscriminately download massive numbers
of songs.  We designed EMusic as an interactive
service to allow you to sample, discover and listen to
music from our many label partners.

Although we do not want to discourage active use of
our service, we have concluded that we cannot support
customers who are downloading huge numbers of tracks
that they cannot possibly ever listen to.  EMusic pays
music publishers and songwriters a fixed amount for
every track downloaded from our site.  This means that
the costs of supporting the small number of users who
abuse EMusic can impact our ability to provide our
service to the rest of our users.  We are passionate
about EMusic, and we are working hard to ensure the
service continues to grow and meet our customers'
needs.

As a guideline, please use the service as it was
intended to be used -- for sampling songs and albums
and downloading numbers of tracks you can personally
use and enjoy.  We hope this background information is
helpful and that you continue to enjoy EMusic.

EMusic.com


from legal@mp3.com

Quote
Dear Legal@mp3.com,

1. What am I in violation of specifically?

2. What do you require me to do to remedy the situation?

3. Why do I feel like I am part of a witch hunt?

4. How can I comply, if you won't identify which part of 7.1 I could be in violation of?

The sad part is I am more an willing to work with you, but I really get steamed when I am made out to be the "download criminal".  I even asked you before you sent me the notice to define how much "unlimited" really is. You would not respond. I was a proponent of Emusic.com. I personally got 3 other people to subscribe to the service. They still subscribe. Please be just and truthful with me, let me know what exactly you expect. Please make it feel good to be an Emusic.com subscriber again. I just asking you to give me a direct and just answer.

Sincerely,

Nick LeFave


Above is my response to legal@mp3.com's email

As a subscriber, I am still frustrated. I would feel much better if Emusic would stop being evasive in their answer. I can personally use and enjoy a couple albums a day. Heck, when I have fulltime work, I tend to buy 2-3 CDs a day (I am a music junkie). Right now, I really want to enjoy both the Complete Riverside Recordings of Thelonious Monk and the Complete Prestige/Bluesville Recordings of Lightnin' Hopkins. But, I am afraid to download the collections in fear of loosing my subscription. I admit I don't like this. If I am lucky enough to download these two collections, I will more than likely cancel my subscription. I guess I'll just have to start visiting the Public Library again and finding stuff to rip (I checked with my librarian, I have the right to copy library owned cd's because I am a part owner and have rights under fair use. I can only use the copy for my use and cannot sell the copy).

I did do some math. For 18 months they received $180.00 from me. Say I downloaded 7200 songs (right now I am totalling what I have from Emusic. I realized that I may have been over "guestimating"). Anyway 7200 x $.07 = $504.00. So yes, they have lost money from having me as a subscriber, but I also know that this is still not a loosing business model.

A similar subscription business is the dial up trade. I used to work for an ISP. We resold dialup service from Splitrock and UUNet. We offered "unlimited" dialup, but we were really banking on average weekly usage of 30 hours. Why? Because the account package from Splitrock and UUNet were based on these 30 hour accounts. If one of our users went over 30 hours, then we started to pay an hourly fee. So yes, some users were "bandwidth hogs", but they were a fraction compared to the majority of users. Most of our users rarely broke the 30 hours a month. This model is what Earthlink, AOL and other ISP's go by (They probably have their user accounts structured at different hours per week. I think Juno was buying a 10 hour per week user account from Splitrock, and then reselling it as "unlimited"). Even bandwidth cost money.

Again, Jim H., I appreciate you going to bat for us. Though, I do realize that the business world is fickle and someone at mp3.com/Emusic today may be that someone you need to get capital in the future. So don't burn any bridges if you don't need to. I'd just rather cancel my subscription.

Nick LeFave
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zevele10

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2002, 12:44:07 pm »

they are quite small in fact
From they site

EMusic is the world's most popular MP3 music subscription service with more than 35,000 paying subscribers.

If they are as fair as with unlimited downloads it can be much less
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JimH

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2002, 12:46:31 pm »

I've received word that EMusic is preparing to send people who have received warnings more information on why.
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Nick_LeFave

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2002, 02:25:50 pm »

Quote
I've received word that EMusic is preparing to send people who have received warnings more information on why.


Good.
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KingSparta

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2002, 03:40:52 pm »

35,000 X $10.00 = $350,000 X 12 (months) = $4,200,000

don't seem like they are making to much money to me (if my math is correct)
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Nick_LeFave

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2002, 10:31:06 pm »

Emusic says they do a 50/50 split with the labels. It sounds like they at least take $5.00 off the top before doling out the royalties to the labels.

I don't think Emusic is crying wolf with the mechnical royalties, I am just supsicious that it is there parent company that is taking the $.07 royalty (I remember reading when I first signed up that Emusic had negotiated lower mechnical royalty rates with a lot of the independent labels).

I invite Emusic to have me participate in some sort of focus group. Or, at least, give me a call so we can chat.

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Ken Brookings

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2002, 03:54:50 pm »

So here is the latest from the kinder, gentler Emusic:
Dear EMusic Subscriber,

I'd like to offer a personal apology for some of our recent communication with you and other EMusic customers. Over the past several weeks, we have implemented some new tools in an effort to identify subscribers that are using EMusic in ways it was not intended. It's important for us to do this to ensure the long-term viability of EMusic -- so we can continue to offer our service to you and the rest of our 70,000 loyal subscribers.

Many EMusic subscribers recently received a letter outlining unusual activity in their accounts. After personally reading through every email sent to us in response, it's clear to me that we need to rethink our approach. While we need to identify customers who are not using the service as intended, we do not want to do this at the expense of passionate EMusic users.

I want to be as clear as possible about what we consider abusive activity and how we will manage this going forward. Although EMusic is an  "unlimited" service, there have to be some restrictions on this policy.

EMusic is similar to a buffet advertised as  "all you can eat." For the restaurant to be successful, it has to have reasonable limitations that apply to people that stay too long, eat more than their fair share -- or waste food. The service is indeed unlimited for the vast majority of the restaurant's customers whose actions never draw attention.  The restaurant reserves the right to deny service to any customer.

EMusic was designed to be an interactive service for personal use and enjoyment. Our intent is to allow our subscribers unlimited access to an amount of music that they can reasonably use. We did not design the service for people who want to download music simply to collect it or to fill up their hard drives. This would be not be responsible for us as a business or provide incentive for our label partners to make their music available.

Obviously, the definition of "reasonable" varies by user and many of the responses I have read are simply requesting some definition. Based on our current analysis of typical subscriber behavior, we believe that downloading more than 2,000 tracks in a 30-day period is not reasonable for personal use. Using a 12-track album as the average, this represents more than 165 albums and over 10,000 minutes of music. Less than 1% our subscribers ever approach these levels.

If, for any reason, you do not find this explanation satisfactory, please use the following link: http://help.emusic.com/cu/index.cgi to cancel your
account. We'll immediately end your subscription - even if you are still in your commitment period - and provide you a refund for the current month.

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience or frustration we may have caused. I can assure you that our team is extremely passionate about continuing to provide you with the best MP3 subscription service possible.

Best regards,
Steve Grady
General Manager, EMusic.com


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JimH

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2002, 04:00:52 pm »

It looks like Steve has heard what you've been saying and that he's answered most of your concerns.  You won't necessarily agree with the detail of what he's said, but I hope you see that he (and EMusic) are trying to do the right thing.

Please give them a chance to deliver now.
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Nick_LeFave

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2002, 04:04:33 pm »

I find 2000 tracks per month very reasonable (I believe that is what they are saying?). I am also impressed that this didn't come from "legal@emusic.com or legal@mp3.com" but from the GM.

Again, JimH thanks for providing this forum to MJ users to track the EMusic issue.

Nick LeFave

btw. How 'bout a download counter in the DM? ;D
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zevele10

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2002, 07:14:17 am »

How 'bout a download counter in the DM

Yes .GREAT IDEA!

2000 songs a month at $10 is still a very very fair deal
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michel

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2002, 07:30:50 am »

I don't think so because I download files from other legal sites also.

I use custom1 to put "emusic" or "cd" or "any other source". I fill it just after to download files, in the same time I check the tags.

Then it is very easy to do a monthly counter with MJ (a smartlist).
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Neanderthaler

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Re: Influencing EMusic
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2002, 11:19:05 am »

I think Emusic is very reasonable with there last message which I also received.
2000 should cover my needs
I think that Emusic can also very easely put a counter in the overview that you have in your acount.
By the way. I never downloaded more than 2000 songs per month so why I also get the warning is strange to me!
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