Tools for keeping track of, and keeping an eye out for, stuff on eMusic?
November 1, 2007 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Are there any good tools for keeping track of, and keeping an eye out for, songs to download from eMusic?

I recently started using eMusic. I'm happy with it in that there are a whole bunch of things that I want to get from it, but I'm not happy in that I can't figure out how to easily keep track of things that I might want to download in the future, or how to keep an eye out for new things that I might want.

I know there's the "Save for Later" feature. But this has several problems. For example:
  • It's limited to 100 albums, which is not even remotely near enough
  • You can only "save" albums, not artists, which would be more convenient
  • The interface is awful - for example, no search functionality, no real organization, no automatic (or even fairly pain-free) deletion when you actually do download a saved album
Also, it would be really nice to have something that would automatically tell you, "Hey, I see that you like the Backstreet Boys*, are you aware that they just put a new album out?", or "Gee, it looks like you might like 'N Sync** too".

Regarding that, I know there's the "similar artists" feature in the sidebar, but it's only when you're looking at some particular artist, and there's no way to save interesting-looking similar artists except to save their albums, which, as noted, is a pain and doesn't work well in any case.

So, I'm wondering if either I'm missing something here, and eMusic actually does have good features like these somewhere, or else if there's some third party application or website that can be stretched to suit my purposes.

*: I'm not a fan of the Backstreet Boys.
**: I'm also not a fan of 'N Sync.
posted by Flunkie to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not a complete answer by a long shot but: Next to the "Save For Later" button is "Save to your playlist" -- this is the same feature except you can have any number of playlists, name them whatever you like and save individual tracks as well as albums (and you can even save individual tracks to your Save For Later list this way).

Hopefully there are other suggestions forthcoming because I'd like to see them too.
posted by winston at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2007

I use emusic too, and i reckon it's fairly pain-free to delete things from your "save for later" folder - it's not that hard.

Although, it would be cool if they would automagically be deleted once you downloaded the album.

As for keeping track of the things you want to download later, why not go lo-tech and keep a pad and pencil next to the computer, and write down what you want to download (or an excel spread - why does everything have to be so automatic). I keep a tatty old list in my wallet of bands and albums I want to buy but never get around to comes in handy any time I'm browsing through a record shop, not knowing what I want to buy next - just pull out my tatty old list and Voila! - off to the checkout with the entire N'sync back catalogue...or not.
posted by robotot at 7:31 PM on November 1, 2007

Many people have a playlist "save for later 2". I actually use the 100 album limit to force myself to actually download stuff from the list instead of endlessly adding new things to it and never downloading anything on it.
posted by advil at 7:34 PM on November 1, 2007

I use emusic too, and i reckon it's fairly pain-free to delete things from your "save for later" folder - it's not that hard.
Well, there's a "delete" button next to each album's entry on your "saved" list. So:
  1. You click on "saved for later" to get to the list of albums you're considering downloading.
  2. You browse through the (unorganized) list that it gives you to decide which you actually want to download.
  3. You click on the title of that one to get to that album's main page.
  4. You click on "download all".
  5. You hit "back" to get back to your save list.
  6. You hunt through the unorganized list for that album again, without the benefit of a "search" function.
  7. You click its "delete" button.
It would be so much better if you could instead do this:
  1. You click on "saved for later" to get to the list of albums you're considering downloading.
  2. You browse through the organized list to decide which you actually want to download.
  3. You click on the convenient "download and remove from saved list" button right next to that album's name on that page itself.
You're right that it's "not that hard", at least in some sense. But it could be a hell of a lot easier, and it's difficult to imagine a non-absurd way in which it could be harder than it currently is.

Perhaps I'm just missing something. I would actually love to find out that I am.
posted by Flunkie at 7:42 PM on November 1, 2007

Also, each entry on the "saved for later" list takes up far too much screen space. There are pages and (unorganized) pages of scrolling that you have to do.

Would be nice just to have a simple list, rather than the humongous graphics-and-whitespace abomination that's currently there.
posted by Flunkie at 7:58 PM on November 1, 2007

Long time eMusic user here. You are correct that the playlist functionality and the website itself is showing its age in this ajaxy web era. But definitely use the Save to Playlist feature. You can save albums and tracks, but not artists as you note. I usually just save a representative album by that artist instead.

You can use the hidden RSS feed feature to get feeds for an artist's label. E.g. go to a label recent albums page and change "browse" in the url to "rss". This also works on genre pages (or any other browse page).

For similar artists, I would recommend going to a specific album (not artist) page and then looking through the Member Playlists on the right hand side. There are also member playlists displayed for artists but those are not as precise IMHO.

There used to be a feature on the What's New page that showed you a selection of new albums by artists you have already downloaded, but lately it seems like that feature comes and goes. I guess they are working on it, I hope it comes back. They have been changing the site lately.
posted by drew3d at 8:23 PM on November 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not really the solution that you seek, but since it hasn't been mentioned I'll point out the Pandora/eMusic mashup to seek similar artists to what you like...

The interface really could use some work, I hope they invest in some improvements (though I'm still loving my subscription). I wonder if firefox add-ons could add some functionality... (again not strictly relevant but I found a toolbar add-on for firefox while searching there...)
posted by nanojath at 9:18 PM on November 1, 2007

Possibly of interest - 17 dots is a blog run by a few eMusic employees and usually features notices and/or mini-reviews of newer eMusic releases.
posted by p3t3 at 12:06 AM on November 2, 2007

Not the exact answer you are looking for, but I just keep one album of favorite artists in my "save for later" file as a reminder to check back on their stuff occasionally.

I also check out my "downloaded" folder from time to time to remind myself of any artists that I might need to double check to see if they have new stuff.
posted by vagabond at 2:45 AM on November 2, 2007

Thanks for pointing to that pandora mashup!

i've had my best luck finding stuff on emusic using user lists, or cross-referencing user lists from amazon or something like that. there really is a LOT of room for improvement on their interface, hopefully things will get better soon.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:15 AM on November 2, 2007

There are plenty of other recommendation services out there. I'd use another service/site/resource to find the music I'm interested in, and then just search eMusic off that list.

I keep a file of all the albums I want to buy, and then I check a number of sites for that album, starting with eMusic.

Since eMusic's selection can be hit or miss, I actually made a command for YubNub to search 5 DRM-free music stores (including eMusic) simultaneously. You can see my write-up on it here. It saves you from having to search all those stores manually only to find out none of them have the album you want.
posted by sprocket87 at 9:05 AM on November 2, 2007

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