It's sometimes lost in all the flavor-of-the-week mix-remix-download-social networking sites, but eMusic has been selling DRM-free MP3s--meaning they can be played on the iPod or any other player--from independent labels and artists for a decade now, and has a reasonable claim to be the No. 2 music store behind iTunes.
A planned redesign is meant to help eMusic retain this position. According to reports in Fortune and Digital Music News, the site's slated for an overhaul beginning next week. Artist pages will be updated with Wikipedia biographies, original editorial content, and embedded YouTube videos. In a nod to Web 2.0, fans will be able to embed portions of these artist profiles, including streaming song samples, in their Facebook pages, as well as on other social-recommendation sites such as Digg. A navigational update is also in the works--for such a well-established site, eMusic is kind of hard to get around.
One thing they're not getting rid of: the subscription-based purchasing model. That's always been a deal-breaker for me, as I simply don't download 30 songs from independent artists and labels per month. Still, if you're a voracious consumer of new music, and prefer legal downloads to file-sharing or buying physical recordings, eMusic remains an excellent choice.