Amie Street

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Amie Street
"music lives here"
Opened File:Flag of the United States.svg United States: July 4, 2006 (2006-07-04)
File:Flag of Japan.svg Japan: December 11, 2007 (2007-12-11)
Pricing model Variable (demand-based), à la carte[1][2][3]
Platforms Web-based, platform-independent (Microsoft Windows, Mac OS/X, or GNU/Linux)
Format MPEG Layer 3 (.mp3)
Restrictions None
Catalogue 10,000+ artists, 1,000,000+ songs[4][5][6][7]
Preview Streaming song clips (85 seconds)[8]
Streaming Previews and purchased songs
Burning/copying Unlimited
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
Customer support Help / Feedback

Amie Street is 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.[9] They have since graduated and moved the company to Long Island City in Queens, New York.[10]

Their vision for Amie Street is to become "the most fun way to discover and buy music online", keep music social, and support the artists.[11]



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.[12] Amie Street's catalog and stability have grown steadily since then, adding nine members to the team[10] and creating partnerships with various record labels including CD Baby,[5] The Orchard,[13] Nettwerk Music Group, and Daptone Records.[14] A few weeks after the initial crush of traffic an alpha version was completed and a beta version was launched on October 4, 2006.[15] 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.[5]


As reported by TechCrunch on August 5, 2007, Amie Street announced a site redesign and, led by, closed their Series A round of venture capital funding.[10] They began negotiations for the round in January 2007.[16] Notable angel investors include Robin Richards, former president of[15] and David Hirsch, director of Google's B2B vertical markets group.[17]

Website features

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.

Demand-based pricing

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¢.[1] 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¢.

Selling music

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.[18] (Other formats such as AAC, FLAC, and Ogg are "on the way.")[19][20] As users buy songs, the artist is credited quarterly. Artists keep 70% of the proceeds after US$5 in sales for each song.[21] Albums are priced at the current total cost for each individual song on the album, capped at US$8.98 in most cases.[2] PayPal,[10] Payoneer prepaid MasterCards,[22] or checks are used to make payments to artists.[21] There is some speculation that Amazon's new web service Amazon FPS would be a good match for the site as well.[10] BitCash is used for payments in Japan.[5]

A ringtone service was announced on September 17, 2007[23] through a partnership with Myxer. Pricing for ringtones is also variable, starting out free and climbing to US$1.99.[24] This service "doesn't appear to be available yet."[25]


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 {{{1}}} 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.[26]

Social networking

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".[10] 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[27] and available as separate RSS web feeds.

Third party integration

Amie Street launched a Facebook Application in October 2007 called Fantasy Record Label.[28][29] 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.[30] 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,, Pandora, and Songza are used to generate automated music recommendations.[31]

Benefit media: Download To Make A Difference campaign

On November 6, 2006, Amie Street introduced four benefit media tracks to the site.[32] These songs are priced at 50¢ and all proceeds from sales go to the charity Free The Children.[33] 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.[34][35] 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.[36][37] With each free download of Peter Buffett and Akon's single "Anything", Amie Street will donate US$2 to the Creative Visions Foundation.[38][39] 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.[40] During its first week of sales, the album charted at #29 on Billboard's Top Digital Albums.[41][42]

lonelygirl15 partnership

On May 15, 2007, lonelygirl15 teamed up with Amie Street to sell music featured in episodes of the show.[43][44][45]


Amie Street has been mentioned in several notable media organizations.[46][47] These include Rolling Stone,[48] The Wall Street Journal,[49] BusinessWeek,[9] NPR,[50] The Washington Post,[51] Los Angeles Times,[52] Entertainment Weekly,[53] TechCrunch,[54] Boing Boing,[55] Ars Technica,[8] and Wired.[56]

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[57] 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.[58] 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,[59] others estimated her earnings to be as low as US$13,720.[60] Official sales numbers have not been released.

See also

Further reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 Amie Street - Help » FAQ
  2. 2.0 2.1 Amie Street - Help » FAQ
  3. Maki Miyamoto (2007-12-21). "Fan interest is the price of popular songs and determine "Amie Street"" (in Japanese). ITmedia. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  4. Gallaugher, John (2007-09-06). "The Week in Geek - Sept. 6, 2007". The Week in Geek. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Van Buskirk, Eliot (2007-12-11). "Amie Street Expands into Anime and Manga with Japanese Store". Listening Post. Wired. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  6. Arrington, Michael (2007-12-19). "Amazon Helping To Change The Business Of Music". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cheng, Jacqui (2007-03-07). "Amie Street signs major artists to sell DRM-free music". ArsTechnica. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gangemi, Jeffrey; Douglas MacMillan (2006-10-30). "America's Best Young Entrepreneurs". Best Entrepreneurs Under 25. BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Gonzalez, Nick (2007-08-05). "Amie Street Closes Series A Financing Led By". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  11. Amie Street - Featured Music
  12. Arrington, Michael (2006-07-23). "Amie Street: Awesome New Music Model". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  13. Chartier, David (2008-06-25). "Amie Street inks deal with indies, will add 1 million songs". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  14. "AmieStreet's CrunchBase entry". CrunchBase (TechCrunch). Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Robinson, Blake (2006-10-04). "Amie Street Takes Innovative Music Model Into Beta". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  16. Arrington, Michael (2007-01-26). "Amie Street Begins Data Mining and Artist Promotion". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  17. Kafka, Peter (2007-08-06). "Amie Street Has Amazon Money. What's The Plan?". Silicon Alley Insider. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  18. Amie Street - Help » FAQ
  19. More Amie Street News | Listening Post from
  20. Arrington, Michael (2007-03-05). "Barenaked Ladies: New Album. Free. No DRM. Now.". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-03-28. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "For Artists". Amie Street. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  22. Chowdhry, Amit (2007-03-27). "Greylock Partners Leads $4 Million Series A Investment In Payoneer". Pulse 2.0. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  23. and Myxer(TM) Partner to Bring Demand-Based Pricing to the Mobile Ringtone Marketplace
  24. AmieStreet adds ringtones « LI Biz Blog
  25. Amie Street To Sell Ringtones with Demand-Based Pricing | Listening Post from
  27. Your Dashboard
  28. Fantasy Record Label | Facebook
  29. Fantasy Record Label | Facebook
  30. Facebook app: Fantasy Record Label from Amie St. | The Social Web |
  32. Roman, Elias (2006-11-06). "Free The Children". Amie Street Blog. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  33. "Amie Street cranks out cool tunes to benefit Free The Children". Voices International Newsletter, Free The Children. November 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  34. "Buy Brother Love, Fight Cystic Fibrosis". Blubrry Blog. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  35. Boltuch, Joshua (2007-03-30). "Buy Good Music, Fight Cystic Fibrosis". Amie Street Blog. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  38. "Creative Visions : AmieStreet". Creative Visions Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  39. "Walkmen album to fight cancer". The Guardian. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  40. "Amie Street - Featured Music". Amie Street. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  41. "Get The Walkmen Album Early, Help Charity On Amie Street". TechCrunch. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  42. "Top Digital Albums". Billboard. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  43. Van Buskirk, Eliot (2007-05-15). "LonelyGirl15 Soundtrack Will Use Amie Street Artists". Listening Post (Wired). Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  44. Asbill, Peter (treetops) (2007-05-22). "LonelyGirl15 featuring Chase Emery". Amie Street Blog. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  45. modelmotion (2007-05-16). "LonelyGirl15 Soundtrack Will Use Amie Street Artists". LG15 Today. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  46. Amie Street Press
  47. Amie Street Buzz
  48. Futterman, Erica (2007-07-03). "Master P’s Latest: So This Is What Profanity-Free Hip-Hop Sounds Like". Rock & Roll Daily (Rolling Stone). Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  49. Warren, Jamin (2006-10-14). "Online: Music At new Web store, many songs sell for a few cents". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  50. Kramer, Melody Joy (2007-01-11). "Web Sites Making Music for Your Ears". NPR. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  51. Pegoraro, Rob (2007-07-06). "Goodbye,". Faster Forward (The Washington Post). Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  52. Healey, Jon (2007-05-14). "CD or not CD?". Opinion Daily (Los Angeles Times).,0,1024533.story?coll=la-opinion-center. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  53. Schonberger, Chris (2007-06-06). "How much is the Game worth to you?". PopWatch Blog (Entertainment Weekly). Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  54. Arrington, Michael; Blake Robinson, Nick Gonzalez (Various: 2006-07-23, 2006-10-04, 2007-01-02, 2007-01-26, 2007-03-05, 2007-06-03, and 2007-08-05). "Amie Street articles on TechCrunch". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  55. Doctorow, Cory (2007-01-05). "Online label only charges once songs are popular". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  56. Van Buskirk, Eliot; Sean Michaels (2006-11-02). "Amie Street & Inclue Allow Outlook Access to RSS Feeds of Music Promos... Wha?". Listening Post (Wired). Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  57. Lemire, Jonathan (2008-03-15). "Hooker's an online hit - to tune of $200G". Daily News. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  58. Wee, Gillian (2008-03-15). "`Kristen,' Linked to Spitzer, Becomes Pop Star on Web (Update1)". (Bloomberg L.P.). Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  59. Sklar, Rachel (2008-03-14). "Millionaire Call Girl? Spitzer's Hooker Rakes In A Fortune Online From Her Music". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  60. Kafka, Peter (2008-03-17). "Ashley Alexandra Dupre: Not Rich Yet. Will She Ever Be?". Silicon Alley Insider. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 

External links

fr:Amie Street

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