eMusic Merges with E-Book Distributor K-NFB Reading

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(from Billboard Magazine, March 18, 2013) The online music service eMusic merged with an e-book distributor K-NFB Reading to form a new company, Media Arc Incorporated. The Chief Executive of eMusic, Adam Klein, is moving on from his current position at eMusic by stating that, “I was brought in to turn it around and reposition it for the next chapter of growth, and that is what has been achieved. So I am declaring victory and moving on feeling fully accomplished with my task there and leaving in place a spectacular team.” Media Arc will bring about a variety of 17 million songs, 40,000 audio books, and also 600,000 eBooks; although Media Arc Inc. is new merger title, eMusic and K-NFB will remain as operating units of the new company, while also adding their “combined technologies and expertise to create a consumer-centric interface that makes discovering, interacting with, and purchasing all kinds of media content more accessible and seamless for consumers.” This merger was something that was needed to give the new company more variety to compete with bigger rivals such as: iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Now that eMusic provides a monthly subscription, along with the option of paying for songs individually (ranging from $0.99 to $1.29) even if you are not a member; this allowed them to open up to more of the mainstream buyer, rather than just the smaller group of music subscribers that they had before. In doing so, they were coming closer to obtaining their goal of “being able to sell more content for our partners by providing electronics to manufacturers, retailers, MVPD/wireless companies, and others with a multimedia content solution to better compete in today’s market.” Even though eMusic’s main seller was music, they also sold eBooks (about 15,000 titles); could be a link as to one of the reasons why K-NFB was interested in merging with eMusic. K-NFB is a company based in Newton, Massachusetts, and is a joint venture between the National Federation for the Blind and Ray Kurzweil; Kurzweil represents the “K” in K-NFB. Ray created the Blio reader (2010) “which lets book publishers weave videos, audio and interactive features into traditional texts”. K-NFB also teamed up with the book distributer Baker and Taylor to convert/distribute eBooks on windows, Android, and iOS devices.