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09 May 2007 Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Nobody knows my address, so...

Looking through my mail server logs, more and more frequently I spot one of those:
May 9 09:52:01 kronos sm-mta[27811]: l497pxf7027811: ruleset=check_rcpt, arg1=<>, [], reject=550 5.7.1 <>... Rejected: listed at
...where "" would be the email address I had given to back when I signed up there. Oh, of course I gave this special address *only* to emusic. I've searched around and noted others (here and here) who noticed the same thing. So, emusic is giving out subscriber email addresses to spammers? Let's look at it a bit closer...

Chris Gagne, who has contacted emusic, got a reply that there was no security breach. As he says, we didn't expect any other reply, because what company would admit to having their servers pwned?

The truth is, that this is neither a security incident, nor a privacy incident. Got it? No privacy incident. It's much more simple. Let's have a look at the privacy policy. Paraphrasing the mumble-jumble they promise they may give your personal information to:

  1. All the record (or other) companies they sell stuff from
  2. Credit card companies, anyone working with credit card processing with them
  3. Technical partners of them
  4. "Co-branding" partners
  5. law enforcement agencies etc. who ask for this stuff officially
  6. any law or contract related stuff they see fit
  7. quoting: ``affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures ("Affiliates") so that they can promote their products'' -- you should be able to opt-out of that, but (again quoting): ``their use of such information is subject to their own privacy policies''
  8. quoting "trusted third parties" and again quoting "their affiliates and partners" -- there seems to be some talk about "opt-in" with that
  9. Anyone who links to
  10. Other users of if you open your profile to them
  11. if goes belly-up or sells out, they are happy to make some last cash on their address list (very mean paraphrasing here, but read for yourself)

Is there any person or company on this world who they wouldn't give your personal information to, based on this list? Hey emusic, I linked to you, can I have Chris' email addy now? Especially interesting is the point about "trusted third parties" and "their affiliates" . Assuming they really could "trust" any of their chosen third parties, but they also have no problem with your information ending up at the affiliates of those third parties, whoever they are. Might be that they trusted someone who didn't have much problems affiliating with whoever is abusing pwned brasilian servers to send out junk mail.

The choice of server shows IMHO that this is no legitimate business operating on a strict opt-in list. It's some backyard operation trying to hide their traces. Good company you got there, emusic with your "affiliates". Speaking of "opt-in" and "opt-out": I'm pretty sure I didn't opt-in to receive any sales information and that I "opted out" of receiving anything whereever I could.

Just to make things clear: I really had liked emusic (and the music they sell), I only stopped using them because the subscription scheme didn't work out for me. I don't like getting more spam though and I don't like companies who treat my personal information like this.

Posted by betabug at 10:44 | Comments (22) | Trackbacks (0)
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Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

How the heck do you get Emusic to stop stealing your money. I told them to cancel. They refunded my money then took it out again the next month. And continue to do so.

Posted by: stephenrjackman at November 22,2007 16:36
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Stephen, how the heck should I know? I managed to unsubscribe, so I have no relation to emusic any more. In the worst case call your credit card company.

Posted by: betabug at November 22,2007 16:44
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Not happy with emusic I singed up and was never able to download any music. I was charged$95.90. I want a refund, was supposed to be $9.99?

Posted by: Betty French at March 06,2008 19:53
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Betty, frankly I'm sorry for you, but I can't say I could do anything to help you - you're simply telling the wrong guy. If you have a problem with payments, get in touch with your credit card company, not me. I never had a problem with either payments or downloading music from emusic.

Posted by: betabug at March 07,2008 08:39
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

I signed up, got billed, and cancelled. So far, no additional billing, but...

I have OPTED-OUT of their emailings 5 times now over the past month, yet I continue to receive their emails!, every email they send me gets reported as SPAM.

I downloaded a few songs, but their subscription model didn't work for me, either.

What I don't like is the fact that apparently I cannot opt-out from their email lists.

Posted by: Pat Rosenheim at April 05,2008 15:52
not a Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

I want to cancel my subscription to e-music thank you.

Posted by: mr peter feather at May 08,2008 00:04
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

This starts to get silly. Peter, I'm not emusic. I have no affiliation with them, I'm not even a customer any more. Before you fill out any form on the web, please read what's on the screen in front of you, writing this stuff here won't get you anywhere.

I've turned that phrase in your post into a link to the emusic faq. Maybe someone gets the clue.

Posted by: betabug at May 08,2008 07:31
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Back on topic, I used to be an emusic.spam, oh, I mean, subscriber, and I changed my unique, specific-to-emusic email address with them three times to avoid getting spam. I never made my profile public, nor did I ever use those email addresses elsewhere. I think they wanted the last laugh, though:

I finally cancelled my subscription because they introduced a Canadian version of the emusic site (I am resident in Canada) and thereby increased the price for me by 30% (no extra downloads, just a higher price!)... and now a couple of weeks after cancelling I just got another spam message (a variant of the "Nigerian Money Laundering" type) on the latest email address I used with them. I guess that serves me right for cancelling, eh?

Posted by: David at May 29,2008 21:56
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Hey David, thanks for getting back on topic :-)
Interesting, maybe they sell those addresses to the spammers only after people left. Also if this was recently, it would mean that it wasn't a one-off "oops, we did a mistake" thing (as some blog posts/comments somewhere hint - gotta find that page again). It would mean that they really mean this as a "business practice".

Posted by: betabug at May 30,2008 09:14
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

I just got a 419 scam at an address only given to eMusic. I guess there trusted third parties and their affiliates are working out of Nigeria now.

Posted by: Timbert at August 28,2008 17:27
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Probably they got an urgent call for help from someone who was some ex-generals wife and who they just *had* to trust! Who could blame them?

Posted by: betabug at August 29,2008 09:30
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

My son, who admittedly is aged 15 and so should not have subscribed to emusic according to their regulations, recently heard about them and thought it would be a good idea to downlaod some music from them. But he gave up before he had completed the registration process, and forgot all about it until he read his bank statement a few weeks later, by which time they had already deducted £21.98 for two monthly subscriptions. Yet when he went back on to their website, sure enough he discovered that his account had not been set up and he was therefore not able to download any music!

I patiently pointed out to them that they should not be taking money off minors, yet they refused to give more than a partial refund, in spite of the fact that NO music was downloaded, and it would have been illegal of course for my son to have downloaded it. Sounds like they are desperate to make money honestly or dishonestly - are they dodgy or what?!!

Posted by: Chazza at November 21,2008 09:32
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

pl stop taking subcription as i have not downloaded any thing so far

Posted by: v.anantha narayanan at January 19,2009 02:24
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Further more, speaking to an artist who has sold quite a few albums on eMusic.... yeah, he still hasn't seen a penny after years. eMusic doesn't pay the little guys even if they sell a bunch of stuff (I recharged my account to buy more from the same band.... they didn't a penny).

Posted by: Hat at February 03,2009 12:25
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

I have had 3 emusic accounts over the years, used unique addresses for each. Suddenly a few days ago all 3 started getting 100+ spams a day.

I'm 99.9999% sure it's some artist whose mp3 i downloaded who has had their computer compromised by an email harvester. Just like almost every other piece of spam in the world. I think I downloaded tracks from the same artist/label all 3 times.

And for the record, all 3 times I cancelled emusic everything went fine. I think some people just don't know how to follow directions.

Posted by: Paul at March 20,2009 21:47
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Hi there, I created a unique email address for emusic.

During the last 6 weeks almost 400 spam mails on this address. That's almost 95% of all the spam I received.

Thanks eMusic!

Posted by: saunder at July 29,2009 22:34
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Just like to add a "me too". I signed up with a unique email address and now I have a whole bunch of spam sent to that address. Don't know if it started happening before or after I cancelled my subscription. Not cool. Thanks Emusic! Somebody should look into this. I was thinking maybe it was a once-off security breach or a disgruntled or dishonest employee but perhaps it's corporate policy which would be, eww!

Posted by: Anthony Durity at July 30,2009 14:21
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Like Anthony, my spam just started this week - sent straight to my unique address for them -

What a way to encourage new customers!

Posted by: Russell at August 14,2009 16:38
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

Same problem... I'm really ready to spend time and money to kill them. I hate this f*** company that is filling my mailbox everyday ( about 10 spams a day ).

What can we do ?

Posted by: Pivert at September 26,2009 23:45
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

I used a unique address when registering for emusic and am getting tons of spam on that one as well.

I 'fixed' it by setting a rule in my site admin panel to redirect everything addressed to that unique address to

Not sure if they even read that alias but I had fun setting the rule ;)

Posted by: me at May 13,2011 13:16
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

to accounts department i would like to know why you have taken £9.99 from my account when i have never been a member or have never purchased anything from yourself s i had never even heard of your company before seeing it on my bank statement. I would like to know how u got my bank details. this is a very serious matter and before i take it any further i am giving u the opportunity to resolve this matter in a reasonable and timely fashion i anticipate a speedy response regards john carter

Posted by: john carter at May 08,2012 14:37
Re: Subscriber email Addresses and Spam

take me off your list cancel my email from your list thanks not what i was looking for

Posted by: pamelalynnbrown at May 13,2013 03:43
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