Grab bag: industry shift

eMusic and Sony: the beginning and end of a beautiful thing

There’s a lot to like about the deal that eMusic cut with Sony today. Sony’s back catalogue (200,000 tracks, from albums two years old and older) will be available on eMusic’s monthly subscription plan.

Sort of.

As a consequence of the deal, eMusic’s per track price is going up across its whole catalogue. My subscription, purchased a while ago, was 90 tracks for $19.99. It had gone up to $24.99 for 90 tracks but I was grandfathered in at the old level. The new deal is $19.99 for 50 tracks. For those playing along, that’s an 80% price increase over my original deal. And I can’t buy a 90-track subscription any more. The highest subscription is 75 tracks for $30.99 a month.

Why else, other than the sudden 80% decrease in value of my subscription, do I have a problem with this? Well, for one thing, not everyone will want to download Sony tracks. So the price for every other track in the catalogue just jumped. Thanks a lot, Sony. I’d argue you just single-handedly made it harder for every indie in the eMusic catalogue to make money.

Which, you might suspect, might be the point. eMusic is practically the only place where indies have a voice where they don’t have to compete with the majors for oxygen. Now Sony will try to choke off the oxygen from the indies in their own pool. Not cool.

The irises of spring


I always forget how magnificent our irises are when in full bloom. The photos don’t really do them justice. Right now there is a wall of irises rising up between our driveway and our front sidewalk. The bulbs, which come from my grandmother Jarrett via my father, are really in action this spring and have created a spectacular wall of purple.

The wall of iris is reassuring because it’s a risky year for our plantings. We ripped out the remaining “legacy bushes” (big dense evergreens) in front of the house last fall when we redid our front steps. Against all odds the rhododendrons and compact evergreens we planted in their stead survived the winter and are blooming like crazy, but there’s still a lot of empty space to fill with plants. Cue a lot of annuals and perennials purchased and dug in over the past month, and you can understand my relief when the irises simply, reliably, just came up and bloomed.

Also, I built a raised garden bed a few weekends ago. The tomato plants are in, the basil and cilantro haven’t died yet, and the peas and lettuce are just starting to poke their way above the soil.

Finally, we hacked away some of the old growth along our back fence, taking down a nasty thornbush and some subpar “bridal wreath”, and found a big cherry tree hiding among the detritus. Hopefully opening it up will give the cherry the room to breathe and grow that it needs.