eMusic (cont.)

I’m a little over halfway through my 100 free songs from Dockers and eMusic (see first post). It’s been a challenge to find things I want and also a lot of work researching groups that I might like. Because they have so few artists you’ve heard of you pretty much have to stumble across them by finding a few bands and then seeing the recommendations based on what other people have downloaded who downloaded songs from that band. Then I go to AllMusic.com and see what they say about them and which albums they like and which are the best tracks from those albums. Then back to eMusic to see if they have that album. Sometimes they will only have early or later albums when the band wasn’t as marketable and was on a smaller label. For instance they have some very new Rickie Lee Jones but not her famous stuff from the 70’s and 80’s. Still, I downloaded a nice cover she does of The Beatles’ “For No One,” which I’d never heard of but sounds better than the original.

They have a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival, so I downloaded “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son”. In my opinion these are the only two CCR songs anyone needs and “Bad Moon Rising” is iffy. It’s not that they’re bad, but you hear them enough on the radio.

Because they have all of The Pixies and they are one of my favorite bands (Grant introduced them to me; thanks G!) I went through their offerings early on. They have released a couple of greatest hits albums where they added a couple of songs that weren’t on any of their regular albums, so I got those. They also had an album of B sides so I got some of those. For the most part, I wasn’t missing anything, but there are a couple of good songs and, although the Pixies are touring now, I don’t think they’re making any new music so the only way to get new Pixies is to find old stuff I haven’t heard before.

It is hit or miss. I ventured for some Bad Religion but both songs (recommended by AllMusic) are annoying. I downloaded a NOFX song and it’s kind of good. Reminds me of Green Day crossed with the Pixies (found NOFX from The Pixies’ page). The band Pavement holds a lot of promise, sounding similar to The Replacements, and I do remember hearing their song “Cut Your Hair” on 99-X when it came out. Another 99-X band available is Bush whose songs “Glycerin” and “Little Things” are familiar though not great.

I think there is a lot of older blues and jazz but I haven’t gone there too much. I did find a compilation from the classic label Stax Volt that had some nice songs including a new artist (for me) named Jean Knight who sounds like a female version of Bob Marley. They also had a different version of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” which is a great song.

Found an album that is kind of a prequel to Rusted Root’s official debut album When I Woke. It has some of the same songs as the debut but they are different versions (including their biggie, “Send Me on My Way” with a piccolo instead of a penny whistle). I downloaded the whole album which used up 11 downloads. They also had When I Woke (which I already have on plastic) but none of their later stuff.

Then I ran across some other stuff that I was kind of familiar with when a Peace Corps friend, Marci, made me a mix tape right after we got back from Thailand in 1990. Peter Murphy, Ian McCulloch, Gene Loves Jezebel, and Bauhaus. I like Peter Murphy, but his albums have a lot of filler, so I got some decent songs that way.

The songs seem to be good quality. They are variable bit rate MP3’s recorded between 160 and 280 bits per second (better than what I usually use when I make my own from CD’s). Not only is there no copy protection but they don’t even have the Copyright tag checked or include anything in the Comment field. I added “eMusic download” to the Comment field so I would remember these are legal downloads.

I still don’t know how they make money. As a subscription service I guess they take their profit each month and dole it out to the artists proportionately to the downloads. I would think the artists would inevitably make less money than getting some amount per song like on iTunes, but who knows? Some of these people need exposure any way they can get it, so maybe they aren’t worried about getting money. (See conclusion)

Anyway, except for the Rusted Root album, here’s what I’ve downloaded so far:

Bad Religion – Generator

Bad Religion – Suffer

Bauhaus – Double Dare

Bush – Everything Zen

Bush – Glycerine

Bush – Little Things

Dramatics – What You See Is What You Get –

Gene Loves Jezebel – Desire (Come and Get It)

Gene Loves Jezebel – Jealous

Ian McCulloch – Love In Veins

Jean Knight – Mr. Big Stuff

NOFX – Linoleum

Otis Redding – Try A Little Tenderness

Pavement – Cut Your Hair

Pavement – Elevate Me Later

Pavement – Here

Pavement – In The Mouth A Desert

Pavement – Summer Babe (Winter Version)

Pavement – Trgger Cut Wounded-Kite at 17

Peter Murphy – Cuts You Up

Peter Murphy – Low Room

Peter Murphy – Sweetest Drop

Pixies – In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song) (Live)

Pixies – Into the White

Pixies – Manta Ray

Pixies – Velvety Instrumental Version

Pixies – Wave Of Mutilation (U.K Surf Mix)

Pixies – Weird At My School

Pixies – Winterlong

Rickie Lee Jones – For No One

Rickie Lee Jones – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

The Staple Singers – Respect Yourself

Johnnie Taylor – Who’s Making Love

As I’ve been searching for stuff it has gotten me off on tangents so I started looking into Ben Folds Five (not available on eMusic). This got me going on my fourth iTunes download session. I found some stuff there that wasn’t available previously but you still can’t get “American Pie” on iTunes. I kind of wish I’d just bitten the bullet and bought a couple of Ben Folds Five CD’s, but he is pretty uneven: one song he has is a message that his father left on his answering machine set to music. But I respect him as an artist so I feel like I should listen to his whole album instead of cherry-picking it.

Of course I’m one of the only people left in the country with dial-up internet so all of these downloads took forever this weekend. The iTunes purchases wouldn’t go to my iPod without updating its software which was another 20 MB download. Susan was out of town and I downloaded a lot of stuff overnight, but I hope no one was trying to call me this weekend!

Anyway, I’m up to 63 songs purchased on iTunes so far:

Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

Ben Folds Five – Army

Ben Folds Five – Don’t Change Your Plans

Ben Folds Five – Lullabye

Berlin – Sex (I’m A…)

Berlin – The Metro

Blind Melon – No Rain

Bob Marley – Kaya (old)

Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

Cat Stevens – Moonshadow

Cat Stevens – Peace Train

Collective Soul – December

Collective Soul – Shine

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen

Dire Straits – Les Boys

Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet

Dire Straits – Skateaway

Don McLean – Vincent

Donovan – Season of the Witch

Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man

Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar

Elton John – Tiny Dancer

Etta James – At Last

Everclear – Santa Monica

Fatboy Slim – Praise You

Foreigner – Cold As Ice

Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – War

Gene Vincent – Be-Bop-A-Lula

Harry Nilsson – Everybody’s Talkin’

Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing

Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit

Liz Phair – Polyester Bride

Modern English – I Melt with You

Neil Young – A Man Needs a Maid

Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl

Neil Young – Comes A Time

Neil Young – Heart of Gold

Neil Young – Helpless

Neil Young – Old Man

Neil Young – Southern Man

Neil Young – Sugar Mountain

Neil Young – Wonderin’

Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky

O’Jays – For the Love of Money

O Brother – I’ll Fly Away

O Brother – I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow

O Brother – I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)

Ray Charles – (Night Time Is) The Right Time

Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Rush – The Spirit of Radio

Sinead O’Connor – No Man’s Woman

Sonny and Cher – I Got You Babe

Split Enz – I Got You

Stevie Wonder – Superstition

Terence Trent D’Arby – Wishing Well

Trio – Da Da Da

Verve – Bittersweet Symphony

White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

Who – Eminence Front

ZZ Top – La Grange

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