eMusic will discontinue its unlimited download service to replace it with a more limited offering.

The service is the only existing Mac-friendly digital music distribution service other than iTunes Music Store. For a monthly fee, the service has offered unlimited music downloads to subscribers.

The company is expected to replace its service with two subscription-based plans offering limited music downloads.

An email sent to current subscribers read: "Unless you notify us of your intention to cancel your subscription prior to November 8, 2003, your EMusic subscription will convert into EMusic Basic. Under EMusic Basic, you will be billed $9.99 per month for access to the service with no minimum monthly commitment, but you will be limited to no more than 40 downloads during your monthly billing cycle."

"In addition, EMusic is pleased to present a special, limited time offer available exclusively to current subscribers – EMusic Premium. Designed for our most active subscribers, this plan allows you to download up to 300 tracks per month (approximately 25 albums) for a monthly charge of $50.00 - a price of just 16 cents per track – with no minimum monthly commitment," the company added.

The company’s messageboards have been offline since the announcement was made yesterday.

eMusic is being acquired from present owners Vivendi Universal by a venture capital company, Dimensional Associates.