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Amie Street As a hybrid animal combining an online music marketplace driven by social media forces, Amie Street delivers generously on its promise: fans are empowered to explore and discover new music while musicians enjoy immediate feedback generated by a vibrant community.

On Amie Street all songs start equal: absolutely free. The more listeners download a song or album, the more its price goes north until it maxes out at 98 cents per track. Up-and-coming talent like St. Vincent as well as established artists like Interpol, Thom Yorke, Barenaked Ladies, and Tiesto have already jumped on the bandwagon!

Always dreamed of being a talent scout?

Here’s how it works: Hop over to amiestreet.com for a quick three-step sign-up. If you just can’t wait to get your A&R career going, click on the Browse Music tab and then on the Free subtab.

Amie Street - Indie Music

At the time of writing this, I can see a list of 48 webpages worth of free albums and songs just waiting to be downloaded and discovered! And don’t let the “Buy Album” links alarm you — as soon as you click it you’ll be greeted by a $0 price tag.

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Amie Street

Say you’d like to check out Break Free by Jackson Cook which is currently on the free list. Clicking on the playback button to the left of the album title will launch a stand-alone player with sample tracks from the album. Player embedding is also supported.

Amie Street

You can download selected tracks or the whole album as DRM-free mp3s in a zipped folder (with album art). Mp3 encoding is based on what the artist uploaded. For example, the last two albums I downloaded were encoded at 249 and 260 kbps.

Another handy feature: once you’ve added music to your account, it is available for playback and download from any computer as long as you are logged in.

A word of caution: please keep in mind that songs are being uploaded by independent artists who are just starting out. Not everyone’s music will be at the level of St. Vincent. That said, I’m often pleasantly surprised by fresh new sounds.

On Amie Street you’ve got a variety of options for discovering new music. Hot tips can come from browsing your friends’ profiles and checking out their recommendation lists. Other options would be clicking on the general Recommendations tab on the main navigation bar. There you’ll find short reviews by users and subtab categories like Buzzing Today, Latest, This Week, All Time and so on.

If you feel like supporting independent artists in a more material way, the Charts tab will take you to the best-selling tracks of the moment which also started out free when they were first uploaded. Another way to find to find new music is by clicking on artists’ names which will take you to their profiles where you can sample music, download tracks, or join their fan lists and receive updates.

One of my favorite places is behind the Featured Music tab on the main navigation bar. In this section you’ll find article-length reviews, spotlights, and Amie TV – a collection of YouTube videos featuring Amie Street artists.

If you’re ready to really get involved, you can play the REC game. Credit is added to your account when you invite friends to join in ($2.50 and three RECs for you per signup), when you make a direct deposit, or when the price of a song you recommended goes up which will also bring your street cred score up. The number of RECs you can make is not unlimited. You will get one per each dollar added to your account.

When you recommend a song that costs 0 cents, it could become popular and soar all the way to the upper limit of 98 cents, which will bring a 98-cent deposit to your account when you decide to cash out. Here you can find more financial details on RECs.

Finally, if you are an artist, you can register for free and upload your music for immediate download. You don’t have to sell your tracks exclusively through Amie Street and you keep 70% of the cash flow generated by your sales after $5 for processing are deducted for each song.

  1. Nik Simov
    May 6, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Thanks for the tips, Adam. I like jazz big time and am heading right now to check out The Shillas ;)

  2. Adam Teece
    May 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I've been using Amie Street for some time now and I am very glad that some of the bigger artists are starting to get on there. More obscure artists are moving there as well such as Jonathan Coulton and Tay Zonday.

    When you go to sign up, you should also find out if you have any friends that already use it, because if you sign up with an invite you get $5 free to spend on the site. And the person that invited you gets $2.50. One band I highly recommend checking out is The Shillas. If you like Jazz, their song Faithful is amazing.

  3. Nik Simov
    May 4, 2008 at 4:49 am

    @Ben: Thanks for your support! If you check the free section at Amie Street often, you can download the new tracks you like while they still cost $0. In other words you have to be one of the first 15 people who download the track before it's price increases.

    Here's more info on demand-based pricing from Wikipedia:

    "Amie Street uses an algorithm to determine song prices based on demand. The price for a track starts at zero when a song is uploaded onto the site. It then rises according to the increased demand and purchase of the song. The maximum price any song will rise to is 98¢. A pricing calculator showed the simple model used to determine pricing, but it is no longer available. The price curve changes based on the overall volume of songs purchased on the site. As of August 5, 2007 15 buys yielded a price of 1¢, 25 buys yielded 15¢, 50 buys yielded 50¢, and 84 buys yielded 98¢." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amie_Street#Demand-based_pricing)

  4. Ben
    May 3, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Sounds like a great site. I wonder what happens if it gets more popular? If it gets popular then more people will download the music, making it cost more. After that would people want to download music as frequently? Probably the upside to becoming popular is that there will be more and more indie artists jumping on the bandwagon, so that it would always be free.. I would hope at least.

    Thanks for the blog!

  5. Nik Simov
    May 3, 2008 at 7:44 am

    @Renee: Can't beat the price ;)
    @Aibek: Thanks! Glad to know there's a fellow long-time fan around!

  6. Aibek
    May 3, 2008 at 12:25 am

    Nik, great post. I have been using AmieStreet almost from the very beginning. I totally agree, the site has plenty of high-quality tracks from independent artists. I am glad to seem them rising.

  7. Renee
    May 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    This looks interesting. I think I'll give it a try.

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