eMusic CEO: Contrary to USA Today report, we’re #2 in digital music sales, not Amazon

“[Yesterday] morning I read with some surprise in USA Today that Amazon is ‘No. 2 in digital [music] sales since opening nearly six months ago.’ Amazon’s entry into this market last year was an important milestone in the continuing irrelevance of DRM and the overly restrictive and anti-consumer policies that the music industry has foolishly wielded in this new, digital age. But let’s get one thing straight: outside of iTunes, no one sells more music digitally than eMusic, and we don’t plan on giving up that title anytime soon,” David Pakman, President and CEO, eMusic writes in an open letter on the 17 dots blog.

Pakman asks, “So how is it, we wondered, that USA Today came to name Amazon No. 2?”

After talking to USA Today, we learned that:
1) USA Today called representatives of the four major labels, who declared Amazon to be only behind iTunes in sales.
2) USA Today believed that our subscription model was not relevant to the story they wanted to tell.

Pakman writes, “I’d like to address both of these points. First, allow me to point out that no sales or market share figures were cited in the USA Today piece. In fact, the article states that Amazon “won’t say how many songs Amazon has sold but will say that consumers love the experience.” Is that enough for USA Today to make such a bold pronouncement, particularly when there is plenty of widely available evidence to the contrary?”

Pakman writes, “While Amazon isn’t willing to make sales data available, we are more than happy to: eMusic sells more than 7,000,000 songs a month. Seven million tracks of independent music covering everything from Cat Power to Miles Davis. Since Amazon opened its MP3 store on September 25, 2007, eMusic has sold 40,000,000 tracks. Since November of 2003, we have sold almost 200,000,000 songs. These are huge numbers, and firmly back our claims to be the #1 site for independent music and the #2 digital music service after iTunes. Those declarations have not previously been disputed.”

Pakman writes, “The only distinction between us and Amazon — aside from our service being more affordable — is that our users essentially prepay for those songs each month… None of this is at all meant as a slight on Amazon. They have been a pioneer in the world of ecommerce, and we respect the empire that they have built. But in terms of digital music, we are still on top, and will continue to be so. If we ever decide to start selling blenders, we’ll be sure to give them a call.”

Read the full letter here.


  1. that’s why I buy from iTunes or Junodownload.com, every song I could want between them, no hassles or hidden agendas.
    Oh yeah, ALL DRM FREE since day one at Junodownload.com

    MDN word: ‘asked’
    “shoulda asked me, I woulda told you the real deal!”

  2. “In fact, the article states that Amazon “won’t say how many songs Amazon has sold but will say that consumers love the experience.”

    That’s funny, because Microsoft won’t say how many songs Zune Marketplace has sold, but will say that consumers hate the experience.

  3. “USA Today called representatives of the four major labels”

    All of a sudden, I feel like we are in Tibet and our news is being reported by the Chinese government.

    Record labels = Chinese Government…………..

  4. This topic cries out for a snarky retro gaming image of Pakman as Pacman being chased by the four ghosts: Universal (“Inky”), Warner (“Blinky”), Sony (“Pinky”), and EMI (“Clyde”). And you get bonus points if you eat the Apple! C’mon, gizmodo/engadget/Daniel Eran, get on it.

  5. Funny, after reading what the emusic CEO had to say, I took a look at their website and was pretty impressed. It looks like emusic has a pretty good (cheap) program. $10/mo for 30 DRM-free songs is pretty nice. Focusing on indie music is right up my alley, as well, because there is very little music coming from the majors that I find interesting.

    Anyone use emusic who can comment on if it’s everything it appears to be?

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