|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (October 2011)|
"music lives here"
|Opened|| United States: July 4, 2006
Japan: December 11, 2007
|Pricing model||Variable (demand-based), à la carte|
|Platforms||Web-based, platform-independent (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS/X, or GNU/Linux)|
|Format||MPEG Layer 3 (.mp3)|
|Catalogue||10,000+ artists, 1,000,000+ songs|
|Preview||Streaming song clips (85 seconds)|
|Streaming||Previews and purchased songs|
|Trial||Free credit and REC(s) with initial signup, many songs are free|
|Protocol||HTTP, Flash, RSS|
|Availability||Worldwide for most tracks, some tracks are only available in the United States or Japan|
|Features||Demand-based pricing, DRM-free, ability for users to earn money through RECs|
Amie Street was an indie online music store and social network service created in 2006 by Brown University seniors Elliott Breece, Elias Roman, and Joshua Boltuch, in Providence, Rhode Island. The site was notable for its demand-based pricing. The company was later moved to Long Island City in Queens, New York. In late 2010, the site was sold to Amazon, which promptly shut down the Amie Street operation.
- 1 History
- 2 Investors
- 3 Website features
- 4 Press
- 5 See also
- 6 Further reading
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Founded in early 2006, Amie Street opened to the public with a pre-alpha version on July 4, 2006 and was quickly scooped by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch. Amie Street's catalog and stability have grown steadily since then, adding nine members to the team and creating partnerships with various record labels including CD Baby, The Orchard, Nettwerk Music Group, and Daptone Records. A few weeks after the initial crush of traffic an alpha version was completed and a beta version was launched on October 4, 2006. On December 11, 2007, Amie Street Japan launched in partnership with Turbolinux. They announced that they will experiment with applying the variable pricing system to other digital media products including anime videos and manga comics.
As reported by TechCrunch on August 5, 2007, Amie Street announced a site redesign and, led by Amazon.com, closed their Series A round of venture capital funding. They began negotiations for the round in January 2007. Notable angel investors include Robin Richards, former president of MP3.com and David Hirsch, director of Google's B2B vertical markets group.
Artists upload tracks onto the site, which allows users to purchase them at a price that varies according to demand. Website users earn credits by recommending ("REC"ing) songs to their friends. If the REC was for a good song and leads to users purchasing it, the price of the song will increase. The user earns credit based on the increase in the price of the song after making the REC.
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¢.
Artists can upload their music directly to the site in MP3 format at whatever quality bit rate they choose, but when a record label or music distributor requires Amie Street to encode the music, they strive to achieve an average bit rate of 256 kbit/s using a variable bitrate. (Other formats such as AAC, FLAC, and Ogg are "on the way.") As users buy songs, the artist is credited quarterly. Artists keep 70% of the proceeds after US$5 in sales for each song. Albums are priced at the current total cost for each individual song on the album, capped at US$8.98 in most cases. PayPal, Payoneer prepaid MasterCards, or checks are used to make payments to artists. There is some speculation that Amazon's new web service Amazon FPS would be a good match for the site as well. BitCash is used for payments in Japan.
A ringtone service was announced on September 17, 2007 through a partnership with Myxer. Pricing for ringtones is also variable, starting out free and climbing to US$1.99. This service "doesn't appear to be available yet."
Non-artist users can earn credit as well. They do this by RECing a song. When a user finds a song they believe will be a hit, they can REC it. If the song price increases from the moment they REC it, they will receive compensation based on the price increase. For example, if one RECs a song currently at 5¢ and it rises to 95¢, the user will cash out half the spread: 45¢ , just for RECing the song. If a user RECs a song when it is free, they are compensated with the full spread. RECing also differentiates more popular music from less, as songs that are believed to be good will be RECed more often. Users get approximately 1 REC for every US$1 of Amie Street credit they purchase.
Users can connect with other users through the "friend" feature. "Friends" on Amie Street are intended to be based around musical interests. RECs are sent out to friends to make it easier to find new music in a music "news feed". Users can message each other and post comments on freely customizable (including Meebo integration) user profiles. There is also a "fan" feature so users can easily connect with bands on the site. All of this information is neatly organized on each user's dashboard and available as separate RSS web feeds.
Third party integration
Amie Street launched a Facebook Application in October 2007 called Fantasy Record Label. This application allowed Facebook users to create a "record label" with a collection of songs that were linked with an Amie Street account, and post the label on their Facebook profile page. Songs were ranked and as their score changed, each user's label would gain or lose points. These points could be converted into Amie Street credit and could be used to purchase music. Labels were also ranked and users were able to compete against each other for bragging rights. However, the Fantasy Record Label application has since been suspended and is no longer available.
Presently Facebook Beacon is used to link purchases on Amie Street to users' Facebook accounts. Facebook Connect and other integration tools to import data from The Hype Machine, iTunes, Last.fm, Pandora, and Songza are used to generate automated music recommendations.
Benefit media: Download To Make A Difference campaign
On November 6, 2006, Amie Street introduced four benefit media tracks to the site. These songs are priced at 50¢ and all proceeds from sales go to the charity Free The Children. The tracks are "Rushian" and "Waitress" from the album Us Against the Crown by State Radio and "Awakening" and "From Now On" by Sonny Fortune.
On March 28, 2007, Amie Street expanded their benefit media program with six more tracks to boost donations for Boomer Esiason's Foundation and the Blubrry Jam campaign to fight cystic fibrosis. Also priced at 50¢, Brother Love and HER and Kings County each contributed three tracks to the cause.
On July 16, 2008, Amie Street launched "Download To Make A Difference", a new benefit media campaign. With each free download of Peter Buffett and Akon's single "Anything", Amie Street will donate US$2 to the Creative Visions Foundation. On July 29, 2008, Amie Street expanded their benefit media program with the exclusive pre-release of a new album, You & Me by NYC indie rock band, The Walkmen. 100% of proceeds from the album, sold for US$5, are being donated to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. During its first week of sales, the album charted at #29 on Billboard's Top Digital Albums.
Takeover by Amazon
In an email to Amie Street members on September 8, 2010, the website announced it would be redirecting all customers to Amazon.com starting on September 22, 2010 and ceasing to operate as amiestreet.com. While the digital, downloadable files from Amie Street will all be available on Amazon, demand-based pricing will cease and buyers will have to pay typical Amazon.com prices for their digital music, which in most cases is higher (sometimes significantly so) than the prices for the same music on Amie Street currently. Amie Street members have until September 22 to spend any credit they currently have with Amie Street, as it will not transfer to Amazon. Current members were instead given a small credit of $5 for Amazon mp3s as appreciation for their support of Amie Street over the years. Amazon reportedly shut down Amie Street on the morning of September 9, 2010, but as of the afternoon of September 9 the website was still active, just with an "important Message From Amie Street" informing users that the website would be redirected to Amazon on September 22, 2010 and to make sure all purchases were downloaded by that time and to use up all credits (which would not be transferable to Amazon).
Amie Street has been mentioned in several notable media organizations. These include Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, NPR, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, TechCrunch, Boing Boing, Ars Technica, and Wired.
Ashley Alexandra Dupré
In March 2008, the site received additional attention because of the availability of two singles by Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the call girl at the center of the prostitution scandal with Eliot Spitzer. An unsigned singer, her single "Move Ya Body" set a record for how fast it commanded the top price on the site following Dupré's identity as the call girl "Kristen" being revealed by The New York Times on March 12, 2008. While some speculated that she may have earned as much as US$300,000 - US$1.4 million from download sales of her singles on Amie Street, others estimated her earnings to be as low as US$13,720. Official sales numbers have not been released.
- Amie Street: Awesome New Music Model - TechCrunch article that first broke the company back in July 2006 after being open to the public for less than 20 days.
- New Ways to Get Music - ExtremeTech review of Amie Street.
- Interview with Amie Street Founder Joshua Boltuch
- The Well-Rounded Radio audio interview with Amie Street co-founder Joshua Boltuch
- Amie Street - Help » FAQ
- Amie Street - Help » FAQ
- Maki Miyamoto (2007-12-21). "Fan interest is the price of popular songs and determine "Amie Street"" (in Japanese). ITmedia. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
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- Van Buskirk, Eliot (2007-12-11). "Amie Street Expands into Anime and Manga with Japanese Store". Listening Post (Wired). Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Arrington, Michael (2007-12-19). "Amazon Helping To Change The Business Of Music". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Cheng, Jacqui (2007-03-07). "Amie Street signs major artists to sell DRM-free music". ArsTechnica. Archived from the original on 26 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- Gangemi, Jeffrey; Douglas MacMillan (2006-10-30). "America's Best Young Entrepreneurs". Best Entrepreneurs Under 25. BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
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- Pepitone, Julianne (2011-02-21). "Why I sold to Amazon: 3 startups' stories". CNN.
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- Amie Street - Help » FAQ
- More Amie Street News | Listening Post from Wired.com
- Arrington, Michael (2007-03-05). "Barenaked Ladies: New Album. Free. No DRM. Now.". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 24 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
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- AmieStreet.com(TM) and Myxer(TM) Partner to Bring Demand-Based Pricing to the Mobile Ringtone Marketplace
- AmieStreet adds ringtones « LI Biz Blog
- Amie Street To Sell Ringtones with Demand-Based Pricing | Listening Post from Wired.com
- Your Dashboard
- Fantasy Record Label | Facebook
- Fantasy Record Label | Facebook
- Facebook app: Fantasy Record Label from Amie St. | The Social Web | ZDNet.com
- Roman, Elias (2006-11-06). "Free The Children". Amie Street Blog. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
- "Amie Street cranks out cool tunes to benefit Free The Children". Voices International Newsletter, Free The Children. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-03.[dead link]
- "Buy Brother Love, Fight Cystic Fibrosis". Blubrry Blog. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
- Boltuch, Joshua (2007-03-30). "Buy Good Music, Fight Cystic Fibrosis". Amie Street Blog. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
- "AmieStreet.com Launches 'Download To Make A Difference' With Creative Visions Foundation,". Reuters. 2008-07-16.
- "Creative Visions : AmieStreet". Creative Visions Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- Michaels, Sean (2008-07-30). "Walkmen album to fight cancer". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
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- Amie Street Press
- Amie Street Buzz
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- Lemire, Jonathan (2008-03-15). "Hooker's an online hit - to tune of $200G". Daily News. Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Wee, Gillian (2008-03-15). "`Kristen,' Linked to Spitzer, Becomes Pop Star on Web (Update1)". Bloomberg.com (Bloomberg L.P.). Retrieved 2008-03-16.
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- Amie Street
- Amie Street Japan
- Amie Street on Twitter, Amie Street on Twitter
- Amie Street on Facebook
- Amie Street on Myspace, Amie Street on Myspace
- Amie Street at Last.fm