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eMusic to ditch subscription requirement, allow a la carte purchasing

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If you steered clear of eMusic because of its subscription fee, you’re in for a treat. The Web-based music and audiobook purveyor announced today that it’s abandoning its subscription requirement. The service – which had operated exclusively by giving users a set amount of download credits based on the monthly plan they chose – will now feature an a la carte option. Going forward, users who wish to purchase individual songs or albums can do so at “retail price.”

The move has led many to speculate about the health of the music service, but the company claims the move is strategic, not desperate. With no-sub-required services like Spotify and iTunes dominating the marketplace, it’s not much of a stretch to think that eMusic simply saw the writing on the wall and decided to tweak its business model. Then again, given the difficulty of getting anyone to pay for anything on the Internet, we wouldn’t be surprised if a weakened bottom line was partially responsible.

Either way, if you were staring covetously at eMusic from the sidelines, now’s your chance to make a move and start hoarding your favorite music.

Good news for those who liked being locked into their subscriptions too: plans will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.