Friday, September 01, 2006

Whisky Prajer: Corporate Shill

After some tweaking, I'm back on eMusic. From first-hand experience, I can confidently say to Linux users everywhere that the eMusic tar.gz patch is crap. Months ago – the salad days, when eMusic was offering 50 free downloads to new members – I screwed up every last free download figuring out how (not) to use it. So do not waste your time with it, go here instead and install this Java-based application. (But really: if you're a Linux user and you've come here for my expertise ... well, that's pretty sad.)

I still have extreme reservations about installing third-party software, so let's call this a “trial marriage”. All the same, eMusic's selection is keeping me on their side of the threshold. To name just a few examples of artists whose CDs are typically a costly affair (at least for Canuckle-heads like myself): Townes Van Zandt, Josh Ritter, Steve Forbert, The Drive-By Truckers, Joe Henry, Peter Case, Stacey Earle, Pierce Pettis, Kate Campbell, John Hiatt, The Be Good Tanyas, The Waiffs, Neko Case, (Stacey's lesser-known older brother) Steve Earle, The Legendary Shack-Shakers, Reverend Horton Heat, The Cramps, Moxy Fruvous .... (get me a paper bag, I'm hyperventilating!)

There's also some early Medeski, Martin & Wood (including this incredible song, from Friday Afternoon In The Universe) and a heap of jazz to be had (though I have to admit, I'm still a hold-out for the CD when it comes to jazz or classical – MP3 sound compression does not serve these genres well. I should also mention, eMusic's "Metal" selection leaves a lot to be desired (but perhaps that's just because metalheads are used to getting their music for free)).

Finally, they stock two artists whose work I promote out of a sense of mission: my man, Jason Ringenberg (whom I've written about here and here; it'd sure be nice to see the entire Scorchers' back catalogue made available, but that's beyond his control so I'm not holding my breath), and Mark Heard, whose Mosaics I somehow missed the first time around (more on that later, I suspect, considering my earlier recollection, here).

In the meantime, perhaps my brother has some thoughts re: Linux and the MP3 market?


Andrew said...

I'm a big fan of eMusic. The price is right -- $10 USD for 40 downloads -- and the selection of indie (many you mentioned, puls Sufjan Stevens, New Pronographers, all the Misra and Memphis Industries and Asthmatic Kitty artists), old punk and postpunk (Swell Maps, Delta 5, the Slits, Descendants, etc.), and some pretty terrific alt-country/roots/Americana (Neko Case, John Doe, Dave Alvin) keeps me hangin' on. Also, not that you'd care, since you don't like Jack White, but all the White Stripes catalog, plus the Raconteurs, are available via emusic. The 50 free downloads offer has been downgraded to 25, but still that's not a bad deal.

I have read on the eMusic message boards that some international customers have had trouble downloading via the eMusic manager. Not sure if that's been a problem for Canadians, but I haven't had any difficulties here in the Midwest boonies.


Whisky Prajer said...

Again, my experience is Linux-based, so I can't comment on eMusic's manager. But considering the java-based manager I link to comes from New Zealand, I think it's safe to recommend it as pretty much hassle-free internationally.

Trent Reimer said...

Re: Linux & mp3, can I post a couple comments here?

It's always weird when a website requires you to install third party software to do something your browser could accomplish by itself anyway. Most of the time that should send up warning lights as a huge chunk of spyware and rootkits are delivered that way.

By using a community verified open source application downloaded from a trusted source, in this case EmusicJ, you can assure against the inclusion of spyware. I mention the "trusted source" because there are folks who take trusted open source applications like BitTorrent and distribute copies which have spyware added to them. If you want BitTorrent, get it from the BitTorrent site. ( Of course you'll want to be careful for phishers so try not to type "" or "".

Of course the best advice for using the internet comes from Alaskan senator and president pro tempor Ted Stevens. It's good to know the future of communications technology will be decided by competent experts.