iTunes' closest challenger in the US follows the Napster monthly subscription model. It touts itself as the place to go for independent labels, with a focus on acts from the likes of Beggars Banquet, Rough Trade, XL and Domino. The relationship between this sector and iTunes has been difficult in the past.
eMusic CEO David Pakman said: "The monopoly of iTunes in Europe is over. European consumers, fed up with homogeneous music and services focused only on mainstream pop can now discover a wealth of music created to transcend rules, boundaries and commercialism." As an Apple employee, Pakman was largely resposible for the formation of the firm's Music Group.
eMusic charges Â£14.99 per month for 90 tracks, or Â£0.17 for each song. Downloads are MP3 format and there's no code to lock files down if users cancel their subscription to the service. The marketing machine will be targeting this autumn's new cohort of undergrads with offers tied to student banking.