Last March, the subscription-based site eMusic gave away $500 in free music each day in March. (If you aren’t familiar with eMusic, it’s a lot like the old Columbia House or BMG subscription services for CDs except its for mp3 files.) To participate in the sweepstakes, you had to go to their website and enter every day to have a chance to win. I set a bookmark and entered almost every day. But it’s a big site and I wasn’t surprised when March ended and I hadn’t won.
Then on April Fool’s Day, I received an email informing me that I’d won. At first I thought it might be a cruel April Fool’s Day joke, but everything checked out. I had a year to spend $500 on the eMusic site. I was pretty excited, but I didn’t know just what I was getting into.
I had been an eMusic member since 2006 when I decided to delete all my illegally downloaded music and start supporting the artists I love. Every month, I would download $12 worth of music. The tracks are discounted, ranging from $0.49 to $0.79, so each month I’d get fifteen to twenty tracks. That means I had already downloaded about 1500 of my favorite songs.
Now I had one year to find 700 to 1000 more songs to buy. Plus, I still had my existing monthly subscription, which amounted to around another 200 tracks. You would think that buying 900 to 1200 tracks in a year would be a blast, and it was, but it was also a lot of work.
It quickly became apparent that unless I wanted to waste my winnings, I was going to have to discover a lot of new music, which was very time-consuming.
Today, I finally spent the last of my winnings, bringing my account balance to just eleven cents.
I’m sure I would have found a lot of great music in the last year anyway, but I would have been nowhere near this ambitious. Here are my favorite albums I downloaded for each of the last eleven months (click the link to listen):
April – The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart
May – Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971
June – The Thermals – The Body, the Blood, the Machine
July – Jason Isbell – Southeastern
August – Harrison Hudson – American Thunder
September – Lake Street Dive – Lake Street Dive
October – The Lumineers – The Lumineers
November – Lucious – Wildewoman
December – Daniel Romano – Sleep Beneath the Willow
January – Cuff the Duke – Morning Comes
February – Doug Paisley – Strong Feelings
If you are interested in joining eMusic, you get a 25% to 50% discount and you get $25 worth of free music just for trying it out. All of the mp3s you download are DRM-free and can be shared between multiple devices.