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“We expect digital downloading to be the predominant way that fans discover and enjoy their music in the next decade”
EMUSIC CLICKS ON ALBUM DOWNLOADS
Will One-Click Sales Be A Better Mousetrap?
Undaunted by the sluggish performance of the single-song download as a transactional model for the new Web music economy, EMusic.com has announced users will now be able to acquire whole albums’ worth of MP3s with a single click.

Most albums are priced at $8.99, and can be downloaded all at once with a single button, though the songs will be stored as individual MP3 files on users’ hard drives or zip disks.

EMusic recently added 12 vintage albums by Elvis Costello—a musical idol of computer geeks everywhere—to its 7,000-album, 75,000-song downloadable catalog, which includes music by Kid Rock, Bush, Blink-182, Offspring, Goo Goo Dolls, They Might Be Giants, Kool Keith, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and B.B. King, and others.

“We expect digital downloading to be the predominant way that fans discover and enjoy their music in the next decade,” commented the dot-com’s President/CEO, Gene Hoffman. “We also expect startling developments in the field of pig-aerodynamics.”

Not everyone shares Hoffman’s optimism about the future of the download as a salable product. Indeed, the swelling popularity of MP3-sharing freeware Napster suggests that selling MP3 files or other downloads may be an uphill battle, as legions of kids continue to locate and acquire virtually any song they want—for free.

Meanwhile, MyMP3.com’s equally controversial streamable "Beam It" database raises the possibility of the long-promised “celestial jukebox,” replacing the storage challenge of a downloaded collection with a “just in time, on-demand” digital delivery system.

Will a single button for an album slow this online exodus from the transactional download model? For that matter, does the new emphasis on albums amount to an admission that the .99-per-song download paradigm has foundered? One thing’s for sure: If folks could erase us with one click, they’d spend the $8.99 in a heartbeat.

EMusic.com stock was down .31 (or 4.55 percent) to 6.56 at presstime.

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