Friday, September 21, 2007

EMusic, a Song-Download Site, to Offer Audiobooks

eMusic, which is second to iTunes in music download sales, will offer more than a thousand books for download, with many of them costing far less than on iTunes. For example, “The Audacity of Hope,” read by author Barack Obama, will cost $9.99 on eMusic compared with $18.95 on iTunes. The retail price for a five-CD version of the same book is $29.95. The biggest selling point for eMusic is also its biggest point of controversy: the site uses the MP3 format, which works on any digital player but lacks the technology, known as digital rights management, that protects copyrighted material from unlimited duplication.

eMusic, which has 10 percent, still sells more than twice as many songs as competitors like Napster, Rhapsody and It is owned by Dimensional Associates, an arm of JDS Capital Management. Some publishers are just dipping in a toe. Random House Audio, for example, will be selling about 500 titles, roughly 20 percent of its catalog, through eMusic. “Our customers don’t steal music,” said David Pakman, chief of eMusic, of the company’s 300,000 subscribers, who pay from $9.99 (for 30 songs) to $19.99 (for 75 songs). “A lot of them are technically sophisticated, but they’re not prone to piracy.” Article

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