eMusic got back to me. As I said, I emailed them to complain about the disappearance of re-downloading.
Randall, from eMusic Customer Support, said:
It would be great if we could offer the privilege of re-downloading music for free to our members, but the truth of the matter is that our agreements with our labels prohibit us from doing so
which is not surprising. But why the recent change?
while we have not had the tracking systems in place to enforce it before, we do now.
I see. He went on to say:
we believe it is the best policy for everyone involved because ultimately it benefits the artists that we all love.
I’m not convinced. It is in the sense that, if I want to get the albums I lost, I’ll have to buy them again, so the artists get paid again. But I’d be surprised if many artists really want to get paid more because of something that could be seen as ripping off their fans.
Though I suppose the comparison would be that if I had broken or lost a CD (or scratched a record, for us old types) I wouldn’t get it replaced for free.
But digital files, being so ephemeral, just feel like they belong in a different category.