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eMusic Review

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Ranked: 3rd
Overall rating:
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Review summary

Good points eMusic review good points

• Compatibility

• High quality downloads

• Competitive price

• Community of music lovers

Bad points eMusic review bad points

• Not available globally

• No search-by-title option

Our verdict

For flexibility and a music-club feel, try this alternative music downloads service. eMusic doesn’t have the extensive collection of tracks or the ease of searching for music as the top two, but it does offer a different, more inspiring kind of service. eMusic is one for the music lovers out there.

Full review

eMusic is a membership-based music download service where you can find good value tracks. eMusic has much less music than the top two leading music download services, around 8 million songs. But the selection is creative and contains both established artists and people you may not have heard of yet.


Set up on eMusic is straightforward. First choose your plan on eMusic. Different eMusic plans are priced at different amounts based on how many tracks you can download each month. The plans go from a basic choice with no bonus downloads to a music lover’s choice with bonus downloads included in the price. If you’re interested in downloading more music than your current plan allows, you can upgrade to a higher-cost plan or purchase a Booster Pack that boosts your balance temporarily at extra cost. If you don’t use all of your downloads within the month, they don’t get transferred over to the next month.

eMusic offers a free trial with free trial credit, so you can see if you like the service before you commit. And you can put your membership on hold once you’ve started, if you need to. There is no contract, you can cancel when you like and pay for what you have used.


In eMusic you browse primarily by genre, adding release date and artist search options as you go. Genres are expansive and you’ll be able to narrow down your search by looking in areas such as classic rock, Latin, international jazz or alt country. However, you can’t search for a specific album by its title. There are editors’ choices and numerous recommendations to help you discover something new but if you’re looking for something specific it is a bit harder.

Music selection

You choose the tracks or albums you want to download and they’re yours to store on your computer or MP3 player. The tracks you download count towards your monthly quota. The download process uses the eMusic Download Manager. This application is easy to install and update.


eMusic is fully compatible with all MP3 players, including the iPod, and with iTunes and Windows Media Player. Your downloads synch automatically with iTunes and Media Player. Once you’ve downloaded songs they are yours – while this is a library/ membership set-up, songs are stored on your computer and won’t be deleted if you leave the service. 


Recommendations – The community of eMusic users acts as a recommendation engine to offer suggestions of music you may not have heard. eMusic also uses software to chart your preferences and it offers suggestions of music you may like to listen to.

Editorial- It’s not all about the downloads on eMusic, you also have a big selection of articles to read covering albums, genres, interesting events and expert opinion, meant to inspire your future listening.

Rewards – The eMusic service runs competitions and sweepstakes for the chance to win music-related prizes.

Ease of use

eMusic is a little less user-friendly if you are simply looking to purchase a track you already know you want. The concept of eMusic is not to serve up and deliver your purchase in the least possible time, a la Amazon MP3, but to give you the chance to browse and pick up ideas, like in an independent record store. So, depending on what experience you are looking for, eMusic will be a dream to find your way around or a little inconvenient.

Help & support

Help and support from eMusic comes in the form of recommendations and suggestions about music to feel enthusiastic about. But if you have a less creative problem with the process or the eMusic system you can email for an answer. Select a category from the drop-down menu and follow the instructions. The eMusic people say they will respond within 24 to 48 hours.


eMusic has an independent, individualistic vibe, offering a download service to a community of music lovers. The editorial and members of the community put music in perspective and explore connections between music. The eMusic service makes for an interesting, complete package for people who want to know more about the music they love and find the music they will love in the future.

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Ratings breakdown

 received a rating of 5 for Overall
 received a rating of 4 for Setup
 received a rating of 5 for Search
Music selection
 received a rating of 4 for Music selection
 received a rating of 5 for Compatibility
 received a rating of 5 for Features
Ease of use
 received a rating of 4 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 5 for Help & support