Online music retailer eMusic is taking major releases off its site and transitioning toward exclusively selling independent titles.
The subscription-based download store started out as an indie retailer in 1998, The New York Times reports, before opening things up to the majors in 2009. Yesterday (Sept. 29), the company told users it would moving back to its original model, taking works from Sony, Universal and Warner artists off the site. "Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, the leading download-to-own music retailer will be exiting the mainstream music business and exclusively offering independent music," a company statement read. "The company's goal is to build the most extensive catalog of independent music in the world."
An eMusic spokesperson said that independent artists who use a major label distributor have already been removed from the website. Billboard confirms that material from Taylor Swift (Big Machine Records) has been taken down already in addition to Spoon's new effort They Want My Soul (Loma Vista Recordings) and Ryan Adams' self-titled powerhouse (PAX AM). Those releases are all distributed by Universal.
According to the company, eMusic has 400,000 subscribers in 2011 - a number that industry executives told the Times has unlikely increased with services like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Google Play dominating the market. In March 2013, the company merged with an e-book distributor K-NFB Reading. They now make up Media Arc Inc.
"As a new company, eMusic and K-NFB will leverage their combined technologies and expertise to create a consumer-centric interface that makes discovering, interacting with, and purchasing all kinds of media content more accessible and seamless for consumers," a statement announcing the partnership read. "The goal is to be able to sell more content for our partners by providing electronics manufacturers, retailers, MVPD/wireless companies, and others with a multimedia content solution to better compete in today's market."