eMusic slams iTunes, gets social, looks good

eMusic today implemented the social discovery and Web 2.0 features of its independent music retail website, in hope of taking more chunks from the low interaction offered by the world’s largest music store, iTunes.
The service confirmed reports earlier this week that it planned to implement a host of new Web 2.0 features. These are designed to offer eMusic customers more musical context than any other site by pulling in relevant content from around the web and allowing them to share their finds with their friends on major social networks, bookmarking sites and blogs.

The company explains the new digital music consumer is web savvy, and turns to social networks, blogs and the web to find out about new acts.
The first of the changes will be integrated into a redesigned eMusic album page, the most popular page on the site. Beginning today, eMusic customers will not only see album information and tracklisting on the page, they will see imported content from YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia for the artist whose music they are exploring.
Customers can also bookmark specific album pages or send them to their social network feed on 18 of the most popular social media sites, including Facebook, Digg, and Twitter/
“Stores like iTunes, Amazon and even the new Rhapsody are missing the boat,” said David Pakman, President and CEO of eMusic. “Blogs and recommendations from friends are now more relevant in music discovery than what music critics have to say, but what’s missing is a place that brings that all together. eMusic is that place. This is the first of six months of dramatic product improvements which we believe will set the bar for the way ‘long tail’ retailers – and indeed all entertainment retailers – must function online.”
eMusic has also introduced a (much needed, frankly) new browsing widget to gather relevant editorial material on every artist from its vast editorial archives. eMusic employs professional music experts to write its swathes of spot-on editorial, but this has always been hard to navigate.
As expected, the new eMusic album page includes real-time integration with YouTube and Flickr developer APIs. And through the use of Ajax and JavaScript, it enables members to conduct several key actions without having to leave the page such as Tell-a-Friend, Writing a Review, Save for Later and Post to Web.
Each month through the end of the year, eMusic will launch dramatic new features that focus on delivering relevant musical context from the web to enhance the discovery experience. These will include a new home page, a third generation recommendation engine, innovative new search and browse functionality and new artist and audiobooks pages, the company said.

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