AmieStreet – DRM free quality music

AmieStreet

You’re a band and want to publish your music. If nobody knows you nobody will buy your music. So your music is worth nothing. And should be free.

When people get interested and want your music it’s worth something.

Meet Amie Street. A music publishing site where the music is free when it is submitted and the price starts increasing as the music gets popular. If it gets really popular the price rise to about one dollar pr. song. About the same as iTunes and other music sites.

The problem is that the music is not filtered by any big record companies and a site like Amie Street is bound to include a bunch of low quality crap. You need systems to guide the users into the good stuff. Well, Amie Street has included a cool recommendation system with a reward.

When you buy credits at the site you will get a certain amount of recommendations. If you find a good song that still is pretty cheap and recommend it at this low price you will get a reward as the price increase. The reward is new credits that you can use to buy music at Amie Street.

I have played around with the site and actually found quite a bit of quality music. When you buy music you can download it as many times as you want or play it directly from the site. The music is DRM free MP3 that will play on all portable players etc…

Here is some of the stuff that I found:

http://amiestreet.com/player/amie.swf?playlist_url=http://amiestreet.com/listSongs.php?fetchPlaylist/songIds__8136,8128,5526,3674,3671,3670,3444,3025,1911,1819,1708,1188,788,664,355,351,159,158,157&autoplay=false

Update: Link to the player.

On my computer the songs play in full length because I have bought them. On other computers I guess it will only play excerpts.

Now, if they could do something with the overall look of the site and the player…

AmieStreet – DRM free quality music

44 thoughts on “AmieStreet – DRM free quality music

  1. I was gonna start my comment with “now, if they…”, but you kind of ruined that for me..
    Oh, whatever..

    Now, if they only started offering Ogg Vorbis files too (I like open technology, and my DAP (“mp3-player”) only have 4GB so every MB saved is important), and stop requiring too much personal information on registration..

    Did you notice that nice, totally original sidebar w/login , btw? :)

  2. Hey Eric, You got it. I don’t own the Selfish Gene song on the playlist above, so I only hear the sample. Oddly enough, I do own the rest and I’m logged into the site, so I get the full songs. A new version of the player is coming (i’m actually working on it right now) and a bunch of other goodness. We’re just five workaholics in New York, so any feedback or other help is huge. Just drop me a line lucas [at] amiestreet.com. I’m the one to yell out if you’re running into an error or if there’s something you think could be done better. Ogg, site design, and openID already noted ;)

  3. Asbjørn Ulsberg says:

    They at least got me as a new customer! Great idea, great service. I’ve published most of my songs there now, which I wouldn’t have, if you didn’t write about them, Eirik. Excellent stuff. :)

  4. Thanks guys! We keep our own blog over at http://amiestreet.com/blog. We try and get more detailed reviews of bands, videos, goings on, etc on a daily basis, although we’ve been pretty busy lately. Yes, it is a working blog. We didn’t just put something up because some marketing guy likes buzz words like so many companies these days. And yes comments are allowed :)
    Here’s something I;ve been thinking about a lot recently and wondered what your thoughts were on it. I really like feeds and hate email. We have some things coming up that usually would be an email notification, but I think we’re only going to offer it as a feed. For example, you can become a fan of an artist on the site. And so one new feature will be a feed that collects all the happenings on bands you are a fan of (new songs, new recommendations, soon to be shows and other things, etc). Does everyone else hate notifications as much as I do?
    Right now we have a lot of feeds built into the backend of the site. We just don’t really feature them right now. For example, we have so easy access to a few, i.e. http://amiestreet.com/feed/songs/Indie%20Rock/newest/ (like another genre? Just replace Indie Rock) and that would give you the newest songs in Indie Rock as they are published. How much simpler could you make discovering new music? Let me know what you think.

  5. I also love feeds and have started to get used to the fact that most modern sites provide feeds for everything. But I think that quite a bit of people still like their inbox and that a reminder through mail now and then can be smart.

    I actually use this on some sites. YouTube: “Someone has left a comment…” etc…

    Still, the feed from Flickr that updates me on recent activity on my images is excellent.

    So I guess the answer would be: both… :-)

    And while we’re at it:
    Cover art. Maybe I simply didn’t find it, but I ended up getting cover art for iTunes from the band’s own homepages etc. Is there a place for high resolution cover art in Amie Street?

    The player. It is difficult to see when it is buffering. But that is maybe something that you have fixed in the new one that you mentioned?

    Higher quality. An option where you could pay more and get much better quality. All the way to lossless if you ask me…

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Totally agree. The downside of feeds, you can quickly get lost if you dont check it for a few days. So I’ve been leading towards some kind of weekly round up, i.e. you have these new friend requests, fanned artist happenings, shows near you, etc.

    Cover art
    What kind of resolution would you want to see? Right now I think we’re only keeping 250×250 on the album level. Coming up, the album art will be in the ID3 tag and the best quality album art we have will be included in the zip file itself.

    Player
    It’s a lot easier to see the buffering in the new version. All of the controls are a lot bigger and easier to use as well. The coolest thing about it is that its completely self contained. You could come across a player anywhere on the web, signup, purchase credit, buy/rec/download songs all from within the player itself.

    Higher Quality
    Why pay more ;) The cost of encoding and storing the Ogg version is 0.00, so why be evil and make you pay extra for it? And the price of the song is supposed to be based strictly upon quality of the music itself, as gauged by popularity.

    I’m always looking for good open source conversion programs. If anyone has some good links for command line (linux) conversion between mp3, ogg, flac, wav etc, please send them to me! It’ll help get lossless support up on the site faster :)

  7. Cover art
    What kind of resolution would you want to see?

    About 500×500

    Player: sounds good!

    Higher Quality
    Why pay more ;) The cost of encoding and storing the Ogg version is 0.00, so why be evil and make you pay extra for it?

    That’s the right spirit! I know that most of the value is because of the music itself. But bandwidth and storage cost? Not much, and getting cheaper, so I guess you could crank up the quality without ruining your business model… :-)

  8. […] Found through BoingBoing but with kudos to Eirikso. Amie Street is a cross between a digital music store and social networking site. With a view to encouraging the discovery of new music, all tracks start out free and only go up in price as they become more popular. On top of that, fans are rewarded if songs they recommend become popular. The artists themselves make 70% of song sales and never lose ownership of their work. Just as the icing on the cake too, all the music is in DRM-free MP3 and can be played on any portable player. It’s what you might call a pretty fucking clever idea. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  9. Asbjørn Ulsberg says:

    I prefer feeds, to be honest. At least if you can keep the number of subscription points low. Like here on eirikso.com, I always check to subscribe to e-mails on threads I make comments on. However, there is another solution, which is to aggregate all subscribed threads into one comment feed for each subscriber. That way I could have only two feeds to subscribe to; the main entry feed plus the “my comments” feed.

    Oh and one request, Lucas: Use + instead of %20 for spaces in URLs. Muche easier to read. Both works anyway, but perhaps URLs with %20 should be permanently redirected (HTTP 301) to the same URL but with + instead. Just an idea! :)

  10. Cover art
    What kind of resolution would you want to see?

    About 500×500

    Just realized the max we’re keeping is already at 800 x 800 :)

    Higher Quality
    Why pay more ;) The cost of encoding and storing the Ogg version is 0.00, so why be evil and make you pay extra for it?

    That’s the right spirit! I know that most of the value is because of the music itself. But bandwidth and storage cost? Not much, and getting cheaper, so I guess you could crank up the quality without ruining your business model… :-)

    That’s right. So will the storage fee for artists :). Still waiting to hear back from the guys from Zamzar. Hopefully we can get something figured out with them and have this up even quicker!

  11. I prefer feeds, to be honest. At least if you can keep the number of subscription points low. Like here on eirikso.com, I always check to subscribe to e-mails on threads I make comments on. However, there is another solution, which is to aggregate all subscribed threads into one comment feed for each subscriber. That way I could have only two feeds to subscribe to; the main entry feed plus the “my comments” feed.

    Yup, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. There will be a feed for each artist (just like a regular comment feed on any post), but you’ll also have the option to grab this aggregate “Universe” feed (yeah it doesnt have a name yet. I suck.) that will just give you the most recent stuff.

    Oh and one request, Lucas: Use + instead of %20 for spaces in URLs. Muche easier to read. Both works anyway, but perhaps URLs with %20 should be permanently redirected (HTTP 301) to the same URL but with + instead. Just an idea! :)

    Either one works :) And underscore as well in some cases. Oh the beauty of mod_rewrite.

    How’s this for high res cover art:

  12. OK think I got it all set now. Five images to each album folder. 3 128×128 for the folder and small version (always better to scale down then up :) ) and two large version. Why two of each? Compatibility will all the players I could think of. In staging now. Hopefully we can get it live on the site in the next day or two.

  13. Asbjørn Ulsberg says:

    I know that both %20 and + works, Lucas, but one of them should be preferred over the other, so you don’t get multiple URI’s leading to the same resource. And I’d choose + over %20 any day. ;)

  14. Another important question for Amie Street:

    How about professional use? I am working with professional production. We use music in television shows, podcasts, streaming etc. Big record companies have absolutely impossible licensing systems for use in new media.

    Lucas, can I use music from Amie Street in a television show? How do I pay for that kind of use? And even more important, if I want to make that show available in Democracy Player, on BitTorrent and you name it… Do you have any models that permit unlimited editorial use?

  15. Yeah we’re working on that now actually. First we have to modify our content provider agreement to allow us soliciting rights (which is going to be really cool for all the bands on the site) and get an updated agreement for all the artists we’ve gotten before that change is made. Then we have a couple of different options, all of them depend on the project specifically. We’re going to be integrating Creative Commons heavily into the whole process, which is going to be awesome. Josh is handling all of this. Could you send an email over to him at josh [at] amiestreet.com? As we’re formulating all this, it would be really cool if we had you involved from the start so at the end of the day we have the best product possible for everyone. The artists, the users, production, etc.

  16. Hey Guys,

    Just wanted to let you know we released an update. And everything here is now in (except ogg. need a bit more time). I think I got all the %20’s out of there Asbjørn ;). Albums have been bumped up, new player, better track listing, hi-res cover art links. Let me know what you think.

  17. Looks much better! I’ll dive into it in more detail later and give you some more feedback. But I have one question right now: Your new player looks better. Still, the player that I have pasted in this page has the old look.

    Will that one be updated as well?

    And, I’ll be back with more on the question about professional use of your music. Please have a look at the article I just wrote about Pump Audio. It describes my problem with the big labels and what I want. (And how Pump Audio have solved much of it).

  18. Lucas: Everything? I still can’t seem to sign up using my OpenID..

    You said you want to integrate CC heavily, and I’d like to suggest that take a look (if you haven’t already) at ccLabs Metadata Lab. There you will find examples of how to integrate CC licenses with sales through e.g. Pump Audio.

  19. Erik: Still working out some bugs in the player. In a couple days, the player you have up now will get a 301 permanent redirect. What’s really cool about the player too is that the backend is all AMFPHP. Playlist files are already public and I’m playing with the idea of opening up the service. Every mp3 player on the web is based on flash. So it might be cool to just hand over everything to the dev community and let them play with it.

    In terms of pump audio, I love the product. What I’m envisioning is something like you suggested in terms of the search. It’s more about mood and finding music that depicts a particular mood. In terms of delivery, I’d like to see some kind of bit torrent setup. So you log in to a particular part of the site, browse by mood, listen to a few samples, and then pull down what you want from the tracker. What do you think?

  20. børge: Sorry still haven’t gotten to this yet. I’ve been up to my neck working on the player and other things and just couldnt get to it yet. I’m going to try and get it in the next cycle, along with support for ProfileLinker, don’t know if you use that as well. For CC, thanks for the link. I imagine it will be something like that, but I’ve been thinking about it on the song level, as opposed to the album level. What we’re really getting towards is the ability for artists to record and mix a track, and have it up on the site minutes afterwards getting feedback on it. What would be really cool is one artist uploads a bass line, another the lead guitar, another the drums, and another the vocals, all under CC. Its remixed and the final track is uploaded finally to the site for feedback.

  21. Asbjørn Ulsberg says:

    Aimie Street just gets better by every day! Incredible work, Lucas! I’m a happy user of Aimie Street’s services and by the looks of it, it seems like I will be one (both happy and a user) a long time. :-)

  22. I think it looks way better than the previous one. Very nice with the “More music” button and the ability to browse best sellers etc…

    I tried to purchase a sontg through the player. Works perfectly, but maybe you should have thrown in the “Are you shure”-warning. For me it is perfect, because I usually know what I do when I puch a button, so one-click-purchase is fine. But maybe other people will complain if they end up buying stuff they did not plan to buy…

    And, I have recently done some small adjustments to the design of this site. One of them is the fact that I have made the main column 520 instead of 450. Making more room for players like yours, the default Revver video player and Reuters news player: Updated news on your site.

  23. I have now updated the player in this page to your new one.

    I have two issues:

    1. Seems like autoplay is default to “true”. I don’t like that at all. In fact I hate all web pages with sound that plays automatically.

    2. So, I edited the embed code to set autoplay=false. All well, but if you have a look at the player in this page. It starts very empty. I think it would be nice if it loaded the cover art for the first song in the list even if autoplay is set to off.

    And, it seems like the main “Play”-button at the bottom of the player don’t work. I have tu push play on one of the songs to start the player in this page now.

  24. Just got up a new version that fixes both of these. How’s that for turnaround?

    I have now updated the player in this page to your new one.

    I have two issues:

    1. Seems like autoplay is default to “true”. I don’t like that at all. In fact I hate all web pages with sound that plays automatically.

    2. So, I edited the embed code to set autoplay=false. All well, but if you have a look at the player in this page. It starts very empty. I think it would be nice if it loaded the cover art for the first song in the list even if autoplay is set to off.

    And, it seems like the main “Play”-button at the bottom of the player don’t work. I have tu push play on one of the songs to start the player in this page now.

  25. How’s that for turnaround?

    …freaking amazing!

    One small detail: it seems like the play button defaults to the pause-symbol when the page loads. It should default to the play symbol, then switch to the pause symbol when people start the player. Or am I wrong?

  26. I’ll use this communication as an example in my presentations:

    At 7:30 pm I post a feature request as a comment in my blog. No, I didn’t call support. I didn’t email anyone. I posted a comment on my blog. At 8:41 pm there’s a message from one of the developers. Feature implemented. Bug fixed.

    Sometimes, the internet is utterly cool!

  27. Lucas: So I just couldn’t wait for OpenID support any longer, and just registered regardless.

    And I’ve got some suggestions:

    One thing I really miss is a easily accessible FAQ. Some things might not be self explaining, so it would be cool with a FAQ. I found a link to some kind of FAQ for RECs, but the page was down, and don’t ask me to find it again, because I have no idea where it was.. And what is Street cred actually?

    Share song: on Facebook, by email, but why not with friend?

    An option to buy a song for a friend would be nice, both songs that you’ve already bought yourself, and songs you haven’t bought.

    Likewise an option to buy credit to a friend would be great.

    More social features like getting noticed when someone adds you as a friend, PM (Personal messages), etc. I’d like this to “pop up” on the page you’re at at that moment, without having to reload the page, and not in a popup window (might use ajax). Maybe a list of online friends in the sidebar?

    Take some inspiration from Amazon. Give me a check mark list of genres where I can choose what I like, take some statistical data, maybe even a rating system for individual tracks and whole albums, and use all that to customize what I see on the frontpage.

    The UI should be more consistent. Rounded corners or not, decide one and stick to it! An example: that Share song button crashes terribly with the Buy song button. And please get rid of that Digg sidebar. I love Digg, but it feels wrong to see that on your site.

    Why can I only stream samples of songs? Because if not people could streamrip them instead of buying? Well, if they don’t want to buy, they can download from P2P networks anyways, and I’m pretty sure that’s easier.. Because people might just stream all day long instead of buying? Well that way they can’t make their own playlists with music from different artists, and they can’t bring it with them, so that’s not very practical either. But if you’re afraid of that, how about a subscription service? For $1 a month or something you can stream the full songs for free, and the money gets divided among the artists based on how many times the subscriber streamed their songs. If that’s not something you want to do I’d at least appreciate it if you’d fade down the music when the sample is over

    When streaming music right from the Recommendations list the music player opens with only that track in it. I think it’d been better if it opend with all the tracks in the album preloaded in the playlist.

    Wow, that was a lot. I hope that didn’t come out as a rant or anything, just wanted to share my ideas on how you could improve this great service!

    BTW. You say that all the music starts free, but in your blogpost announcing that Alexa Ray Joel had joined her album already cost 312¢. Did you make an exception for her or where your announcement just late, so that her music had already jumped up to that price?

  28. That’s some very valuable feedback for Amie Street! I cleaned up the comment slightly to make it more readable. Sorry about the problem with list-tags in comments. Actually, I don’t know exactly what tags are allowed apart from the ones that have quick-tag buttons over the comment box: “str”, “em”, “link”, “b-quote”, “code” and “strike”.

  29. Thanks Borge! Man that kind of feedback necessitates some kind of animal sacrifice its so good. Let me run down these one by one.

    FAQ and more help

    Yeah definitely. This is already in the works (here’s a sneak peek http://amiestreet.com/help/faq.php). Just couldn’t get it done it time to get it in with this synch. It’ll be there soon though. Street credit is how much credit you have earned or could potentially earn for all of the recs you’ve made, the same as the amount of credit you would get by cashing out all of your recs on the site right now.

    Share with a friend.

    This is sort of the nuts and bolts behind the REC system. But I’m working on extending the whole sharing system, adding more sites to share on, and the share with a friend already on amie street, ie just enter a username or check boxes with everyone to share with.

    Buying songs, albums, catalogs, credit, recs for a friend

    Working on getting this in as well. We’re really resource constrained at the moment (hopefully not much longer) and I can’t code any more than I am right now (I’m averaging an 18-20 hour work day) :). Just imagine this scenario, you have a friend that is really into funk and soul. A great funk and soul label like daptone records comes on the site with their entire catalog. You catch it just as it comes in, so the entire catalog is free, and with one click you could get that entire catalog or buy it for your friend.

    More social networking features.

    Yep got that one too. Hopefully soon we can introduce the personalized home section, see who’s online, browse music by tag that you’ve tagged already, constant running update with AJAX of your fan feed (new recommendations and songs from artists you re a fan of), scrobble displays (yes we do support scrobbling right now), new recommendations from friends, friend requests, all that. The PM system as well, integrated into everything. You can send messages now, but its a straight email.

    UI consitency

    Eliott is working on that too. Its hard to be consistent everywhere when your’re constantly tweaking and trying out new things. Ratings (for everything really) are already there. They got removed in this latest update because we really couldn’t find a way to work it into the UI. Ratings are also integrated with your friends, so say 50 people on the site have rated a songs as 3.4. What does that really mean to you? What if there were another rating display that only took into account your friends? This all was in the previous versions (and still is there on the backend). Next update hopefully we can work this back in.

    Streaming songs

    Yes, you can already stream full songs. From anywhere. Even if you happen to own some songs in the player on this page. You get the full song. Is the display confusing? The fact that it says SAMPLE next to the songs title? Thats just a minor output glitch between the player framework and the rest of the site, ie the XSPF playlist. In the next release, we’ll do a check it you own that songs, and to get rid of the confusion, remove the SAMPLE text from the title. And, also adding the ability to download a song or album right in the widget itself.

    When streaming music right from the Recommendations list

    Yep. We’re trying out this functionality on all the chart lists, so you get the full list loaded as the playlist. It’s been working out really well and people are really into it, so we’re going to go ahead and add that in to all the rec lists as well.

    BTW. You say that all the music starts free, but in your blogpost announcing that Alexa Ray Joel had joined her album already cost 312¢. Did you make an exception for her or where your announcement just late, so that her music had already jumped up to that price?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! The only exceptions to the pricing algorithm are songs which fall under our benefit media project, in which all songs sales go directly to a charity or other non-profit cause. And the exception is only if the artist, the non-profit and us agree that it should stay out of the algorithm and have a consistent price or whether it should float like everything else. Otherwise, we make absolutely NO exceptions on this.

    The reason is says a price other than free is that in the blog posts, we evaluate the album and get a real time price of the entire album. That one in particular went up about a week ago, and has climbed really fast. Unfortunately, in the feeds right now, this isn’t so graceful and isn’t supported, sorry. Soon it will be converted to a dynamic image so that everyone can see it.

    Sheesh! That was a lot. I have a LOT of work to. Thanks again for the suggestions. Keep em coming! The site is going to be just unbelievable soon! And its all because of feedback.

  30. I did a presentation for Universal Music this week. They’re really nice people. Yes, I mean it – really nice people. But the big record companies have some serious work to do when it comes to public relations. Now, if you read this thread, is it possible to dislike Amie Street? Nope.

    Actually, there where people in the audience over at Universal that had never heard of Amie Street, and when I told them about it I am sure I heard some “cool”, “interesting” and other kinds of positive whisper from the conference room.

    How about that? Universal buys Amie Street? Would you sell?

  31. Asbjørn Ulsberg says:

    If Universal Music is so cool, how come they insist on using DRM in as much of the digital content they sell as possible? And, if this isn’t true, how come they don’t spend more time and money informing us that this is the case, instead of (seemingly) backing “we hate our customers and don’t understand squat”-initiatives like http://www.piracykillsmusic.com/?

    Great to hear about the redesign, by the way. Looking forward to seeing the result! :)

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