The Bottom Line
The pricing model and social networking aspects of Amie Street make it a good choice for independent musicians and labels looking for digital distribution. Anyone can put their music on the site, which is a double edge sword as that easy access means you have to work harder to get your music noticed with every new band that joins. However, the deals are non-exclusive and the profit share generous, so there's nothing to lose by giving it a shot. If you're proactive in your promotion, the framework is in place at Amie Street for your music to be a success there.
- Price is set by demand, encouraging users to try new music
- Deals are non-exclusive
- The social networking aspect turns users into promoters for their favorite bands
- Artists/labels get 70% of the profits from their sales
- Site is easy to navigate
- Payment is only made three times a year, and you must have $10 in earnings to get paid
- Users can't buy physical albums
- The catalogue is huge; you'll have to work hard to get noticed.
- Users can shop by artist name, genre, label, price or chart ranking.
- A blog run on the front page spotlights new bands on the site.
- Membership is free.
Guide Review - Amie Street Digital Music Distribution
Amie Street launched in 2006 with a novel approach to music - let the demand for the song determine how much it costs, and since then, many other people have embraced this fan driven pricing structure. At Amie Street, songs start out free, and the price increases as people start downloading, until it maxes out a 98 cents per song. In some cases, there are discounts for choosing to download an entire album. This format encourages users to give new music a try - when a song is free, there is nothing to lose from checking it out.
Another thing that encourages users to check out more bands is the social networking aspect of the site. Registered users can chat about their favorite songs, and they can also earn downloading credits by recommending songs to friends (if the recommendations are followed, then the recommender gets a downloading credit). This social aspect draws users back to Amie Street over and over again to check what their online friends are listening to.
The format of Amie Street, then, puts the users to work promoting the music on the site, and that can be a great thing. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that the flipside of this format is that it can actually be more exclusionary to some bands - there is definitely a "mainstream" and "underground" structure at Amie Street that is accentuated by the structure of the site. The benefits outweigh the costs, and this is a bit inevitable, but it means that if you're putting all of your eggs in the Amie Street basket, you should be ready to watch your progress and look for a new basket if you're on the outside here.
With that caveat in mind, Amie Street has all of the potential to be a great thing for an indie band or label. They've created the framework; it's up to you to exploit it. If you're up to the promotion task, this site can work for you.