|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 who redirected customers to their own website.
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. It grew and creating partnerships with various record labels including CD Baby, The Orchard, Nettwerk Music Group, and Daptone Records. A beta version was launched on October 4, 2006. On December 11, 2007, Amie Street Japan launched in partnership with Turbolinux.
On August 5, 2007, Amie Street announced a site redesign and, led by Amazon.com, closed their Series A round of venture capital funding. Notable angel investors include Robin Richards, former president of MP3.com and David Hirsch, director of Google's B2B vertical markets group.
Artists could 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.
Amie Street used an algorithm to determine song prices based on demand. The price for a track started at zero when a song was uploaded, then rose according to demand and purchases of the song. The maximum price was 98¢.
Non-artist users could earn credit as well. They did 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 increased 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 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 could connect with other users through the "friend" feature. RECs were sent out to friends to make it easier to find new music in a music "news feed". There was also a "fan" feature so users can easily connect with bands on the site. All of this information was 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.
Benefit media: Download To Make A Difference campaign
On July 16, 2008, Amie Street launched "Download To Make A Difference", a 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, were 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. Amie Street members had 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. Amazon reportedly shut down Amie Street on the morning of September 9, 2010.
Amie Street was 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
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- Amie Street - Help » FAQ
- More Amie Street News | Listening Post from Wired.com
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- Fantasy Record Label | Facebook
- Fantasy Record Label | Facebook Archived August 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
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- Zibb.com[permanent dead link]
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- Amie Street Press
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