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The Jamendo Free Music Story

GUEST POST: On Jamendo artists allow anyone to download and share their music. It's free, legal and unlimited. Patrick Haour, the site's chief of music shares how the wonderfully simple concept was born and where they are taking it.

Jamendo_227_en Jamendo, like so many startups before it, began as a couple of geeks in a garage with an idea. And, as it should be, that idea was simple: to help promote up-and-coming, unsigned artists and to give people loads of music to listen to for free, just like  seemingly overnight successes like Last.fm or Deezer had been doing (and the host of new musical social networks sprouting up from everywhere that they spurred). But with one main difference: the possibility to download tracks, catering to one fundamental instinct that remains vivid among music fans: owning your music.

So for the last three years, Jamendo has grown. From an idea, it became a full-fledged (and then also functioning) website; from three geeks, it became a team of 25...

including myself and from a free culture enthusiasts' wet dream (all music on Jamendo is licensed with Creative Commons – that's over 150,000 tracks now) it became a burgeoning  success. I must admit, there's a heap load of good music up there by now, if you're willing to look for it. Or you can rely on the selections my job is to humbly put together, after years of toiling in the more traditional worlds of music press and radio.

Now the trick with Jamendo is, it all consists of a subtle balance between a philosophical stance (cutting out the middle man and letting the artist take control) and business. Without any top 40 artists on its catalog, Jamendo can't just yet claim to woo the mainstream crowds. But with a rapidly growing number of registered members (currently a little under 400,000 worldwide) and many deals with various types of companies in the works (including one with Warner Music), there is still room for growth. The next step being to put that amazingly rich catalog to work (while sharing all revenues with the artists – that's part of the philosophy).

- Patrick Haour, chief of music at Jamendo

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