I recently decided, due to my lack of funds, to release Bitter through MP3.com’s CD program. Given their speed in dealing with non-premium artists, I do not expect the album to be available before the end of the year. However, the process of releasing the album is underway.
I recently received the following email from MP3.com, which in of itself doesn’t greatly concern me, but does give me pause as to whether or not I wish to continue to be a member at the site:
The new year is just around the corner and a few important changes to the Artist program are coming up in January. More information about some of these changes will be available soon, but in the meantime, here’s a snapshot:
Customer Support Has Changed. As previously announced on December 6, 2002, only Premium Artists can receive
email support. Premium Artists get their technical questions or other concerns answered within 48 hours. If you need help,
please visit our comprehensive Help section which has FAQs and the System Status Report. The System Status Report is
constantly updated by the Artist Support team and provides up to the minute information regarding site-wide technical
Artist Cash Will be Discontinued. Accounting and engineering resource issues have made it necessary for us to
discontinue one of our more convenient Artist programs as of January 15. If you are currently paying for any subscriptions
with Artist Cash, please go to your My Account to easily create an alternate payment method.
Artist Pages Will Display Three Songs Maximum. After January 31, 2003 only Premium Artists can display an
unlimited amount of songs on their Artist page. Basic (non-Premium) Artists can display a maximum of three songs on their
Artist page. On January 31, all Basic Artist pages with four or more songs will automatically default to display the three
most recently uploaded songs. However, the Song Admin allows Artists to quickly and easily change the songs they
would like displayed. Please note, you will not need to re-upload songs as a result of this change.
netCD Program Will be Changed. Based on consumer feedback to simplify the online shopping experience, starting
on January 15 we will be discontinuing the sale of netCDs as a stand-alone product. Accordingly, the netCD option will be
removed from all Artist pages. Please note, My.MP3 account holders purchasing your CDs still will get the netCD version
automatically added to their music locker. netCDs purchased prior to January 15 will remain accessible in the music locker as well.
Stay tuned for information about new Artist services and a Premium Artist Service price reduction. Thanks for your
The MP3.com Artist Team
As I said before, most of this does not concern me greatly. I have never used artist cash, and I can live without most tech support (as tech support for anything computer-related is generally subpar anyhow). While I find the fact that I will only be able to post three songs at a time annoying, it is a limitation that I can ultimately live with.
What does make me wonder if it is worth it to stay a member of MP3.com is the trend of these emails. Over the past year, I have received several of these emails where services to non-premium members have been slashed. This has been the trend ever since Vivendi/Universal acquired the company and it would seem that their intent is to transform the place into a pay site completely.
Such a manoeuvre would be quite the blow to independent artists currently using the site and those who had intended to use it – those individuals (such as myself) who simply do not possess the capital to pay a monthly fee for all the services that come with a premium membership. Being that MP3.com features Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne and other major label mainstream artists on their splash page on a regular basis, I doubt they care much for independent artists anyhow. I suspect that a mass migration away from MP3.com will happen if these new policies continue in the direction that they are currently headed. For the time being, I plan on sticking with the site, however I don’t foresee myself there much longer unless they bring back the indie-friendly atmosphere that they once had or I start actually making money off of my music. I highly doubt either are going to happen anytime soon.