Hope you snatched them while you had the chance. A few weeks ago, we told you about eMusic’s coup of landing the ABKCO catalog. It seemed too good to be true, and unfortunately it was. Alert GLONO reader Baltimucho pointed out that now when you search for the Rolling Stones, you get the following response: “Due to events outside of our control, we no longer carry the Rolling Stones catalogue on eMusic. We are sorry to see it go, but hope to get them back in the future.”
All ABKCO would say is that eMusic “executed an excellent promotional campaign” but that the label “has decided that at this point in time we wish to further evaluate this area of the digital marketplace.”
eMusic, for its part, expressed frustration. “Unfortunately, during this time of transition in the music industry, customers are often caught in the middle as traditional music companies determine how to adjust to new opportunities in the marketplace,” it said in a statement.
This sucks, obviously, in general. But it sucks even more for people who put off downloading as much Stones stuff as they wanted, assuming it would still be there next month.
In a post on the eMusic message board from May 2 at 4:45 PM EDT, someone named Yancey, presumably an eMusic employee, said:
Before posting the ABKCO catalogue on eMusic at the beginning of April, we pursued every level of due diligence possible. We triple- and quadruple-checked with every possible party at both ABKCO and Universal Music Group, which distributes the label, and the word was unanimous: let’s do this. Green-lit, we proceeded to do what we do best: we got the best writers in the world to put it in context, and we presented the catalogue to you with an impressive amount of musical and historical background. ABKCO and UMG were both incredibly impressed by both the treatment and the sales: the catalogue (even stuff beyond the Stones) generated a huge number of downloads.
But this was not enough. Due to events outside of our control, we are being forced to remove the entire ABKCO catalogue from eMusic effective tomorrow morning. We hope to get them back at some point, but for now, we have no choice.
The shame here is that you, our customers, the exact sort of music fan that the music industry should celebrate and reward, suffers as a result of this classic industry snafu. While the industry concerns itself with arcane details, the music consumer — a dying breed, mind you — is restricted from legally acquiring music. It’s a maddening situation that eMusic has been committed to repairing for the last ten years, and always will be: people don’t mind paying for music so long as it’s affordable and they aren’t handicapped by DRM restrictions and the like when they pull out their wallets.
We are of course sorry to see the catalogue go, and we are disappointed that so many customers didn’t have the opportunity to own more of it. Still, there are numerous new additions to the site on the horizon, some already big and others poised for amazing things. We’re excited to together see what comes next.
And the industry wonders why people flock to unlicensed filesharing applications. Good idea: make it harder to legally pay for music.