On the playlist, or I wish the eMusic account hold were a bit more flexible

I’ve complained a few times already that the eMusic "use ’em or lose ’em" policy forces users to think quantitatively about their download quota, rather than qualitatively. Some months, I just don’t want to get anything, and they’re usually interspersed with other months where I know an anticipated new release is going to appear on the service soon.

A few days ago, I logged into my account information to see when the next expiration date of my quota would be, when I saw an option for "Account Hold". It’s what I wanted from eMusic — a chance to put my account on hold without having to cancel it outright. But it comes with a few strings.

First, you can only put your account on hold twice a year, but you can put it on hold for up to 90 days (three months) each time. If I had the will power, I could put my account on hold for six months, then go hog wild afterward. I can end the hold anytime by logging in, but it’s unclear whether the act itself deactivates the hold or if I have to disable it from the options. If I were evil, I would make it the former. (And I am evil.)

eMusic developers must read my blog, or they know enough about user behavior to craft this feature in that way. I want to be able to spread this deactivation throughout the year at any time. But it would really fly in the face of a subscription model. In that case, I should move over to Lala completely.

So I doubt I’ll be using it, since there’s a few centuries worth of repertoire — and still much music from the 20th Century — to explore. I can imagine at some point, my eMusic will be my exclusive conduit to classical music. As such, I used up December’s quota two weeks ago. January is waiting.

  • Franz Schubert, Trout Quintet & Quartet In A Minor (Cleveland Quartet) My plan to explore the 19th century is first to listen to composers somewhat closer to Beethoven’s era.
  • Morton Feldman, Only (San Francisco Contemporary Music Players) I really like Feldman when he’s not trying to get me to listen to something for 78 minutes.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel, On Avery Island It’s easy to explore all the albums of a band when they’ve only released two.
  • Philip Glass, Mishima I’ve had this item on my Kronos Re-Acquisition Project wish list over at Amazon for a while, and thankfully, a friend of mine got it for me for Christmas. Score!
  • Robert Schumann, Piano Quintet Op. 44/Piano Quartet Op. 47 (The Alberni String Quartet) Robert Schumann is maybe a generation removed from Beethoven, but he’s still closer chronologically than, say, Chopin or Mahler.
  • Stewart Lewis, In Formation Lewis levies the same criticisms I have about gay men and narrow music tastes, but he doesn’t strike me as the proper ambassador for gay guys with guitars. Despite the usual Etheridge-isms in his music, I didn’t find In Formation totally predictable, but he’s not Matt Alber, Dylan Rice or the Dead Betties either.
  • Uh Huh Her, Common Reaction I don’t listen to enough lesbians. I really should.
  • Van Tomiko, Van. Proof positive the reunion of Do As Infinity is the right move — this album sounds like a Do As Infinity album, and I like it far better than her other solo albums.
  • Wendy & Lisa, White Flags of Winter Chimneys The 10 year wait for this album is far more satisfying than the 15-year wait for Chinese Democracy.