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?
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.
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.
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.