Top Indie Artists Embrace AmieStreet’s Fan Driven Pricing

Cat Power, Interpol, The New Pornographers, Sigur Rós, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Devendra
Banhart, Belle and Sebastian and more join fan-driven pricing movement.

Aimestreet_2 UPDATED: It’s said that no single revenue model will drive the next generation of music companies – ad supported, pay what you want and artist subscription are all finding a place along side more traditional revenue schemes.  Another innovator AmieStreet seems to be single-handedly proving that fan driven or perhaps more accurately popularity driven pricing has a place in the new music industry tool box.

Starting today, thousands of tracks from indie label leaders Beggars, Matador,
and Polyvinyl will be available on AmieStreet at prices determined by the site’s fan driven service. All songs on Amie Street are initially free to download and then rise in price based on popularity up to 98 cents.

Only seven hours after launch some of the newly added tracks had risen to 44 cents (Of Montreal’s "Suffer For Fashion") while other popular indie artists like Belle And Sebastian still had tracks offered free. AimeStreet also offers users an array of juried and fan driven music
reccomendation and discovery tools that appeal to artist and labels
trying to find ways to win new fans.

UPDATE: The price for Belle And Sebastian has risen and AmieStreet tells us this is all just normal fan activity.   I asked if the price goes down as interest wanes and was told no, but they are not ruling out doing that in the future.

"More than just a place to sell music, Amie Street is a great marketing
tool for our labels and artists," said Lesley Bleakley, CEO of Beggars
Group USA. "They know that to successfully sell music you have to
provide customers with much more than just a buy button. They give
customers a social experience around music discovery that has up to
this point been lacking in digital retail."

"We couldn’t be more excited to offer these incredible artists to our
customers," said Peter Asbill, Chief Content Officer for AmieStreet.com. "This
is an important validation of Amie Street’s vision that empowering customers is
the best way to maximize revenue for the artists."

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  1. i dont get how this helps artists. i just went and downloaded 165mb(!) of my favorite artists (big names!) for FREE. they stopped me otherwise i would have grabbed even more. They even let you sort their entire library so that free tracks are listed first. thanks!
    this service is fatally flawed. it’s just another mechanism encouraging artists to make “commercially viable” art. Plain White T’s (and their ilk) will make a killing. everyone else will get screwed.
    does popularity dictate the worth of art? maybe to economists…
    what’s interesting and great about the “music 2.0” is that artists finally control all (or at least most) the means of production, marketing, & distribution… not these ridiculous MLM-like or ad-supported business models.
    here’s what works:
    1) make it easy for people to LISTEN to music before buying
    2) make it easy for people to BUY the music they like
    3) make it easy for people to play that music on ANY DEVICE
    what we’re seeing with all these over-thought music 2.0 services is a RACE TO THE BOTTOM.

  2. I agree with Meat Lightning. Not too impressed with AmieStreet either. They don’t do anything for artists that artists can’t do for themselves.

  3. AmieStreet is a novel idea, but the truth is that it isn’t the price of $0.99 that stands between a consumer and a sale. Its a combination of the purchasing experience (noted by Meat Lightning) and the transaction cost of having to pay anything at all. Lets face it, pulling out a credit card to pay $0.17 costs me the same as paying $0.99 when you factor in the time and hassle.
    My other big problem with the AmieStreet model is that it fails to deal with what happens as the price approaches $0.99. At that point in time Amie Street is presumably competing head to head with iTunes and Amazon. They simply can’t compete on the retailing experience and convenience of working with these other services. The theory would suggest that as the price approaches $0.99, the consumer activity around that song will shift away from Amie Street and toward iTunes, etc. If that is the case, then AmieStreet really only succeeds at helping Artists sell music at a discount (not necessarily a bad thing). I’d be very interested to see a sales distribution from Amie Street broken out by song price. In fact, I’d be very curious to understand what % of song sales were made by consumers versus the Artist’s themselves trying to up the perceived value of their music (but that’s another can of worms entirely).
    So there is this conundrum going on here:
    When the song price low:
    Not a real benefit for the Artist(see Iceman’s post)
    As the song price rises:
    Not a competitive experience to iTunes or Amazon
    And then the overarching problem I alluded to:
    The difference to a consumer between a song that is free and a song that costs 1 penny is enormous. The difference between 1 penny and 99 cents is much less. Just look at the behavior of meat lightning. He downloaded 165MB of music – but only the free stuff. He didn’t want to have to give a credit card or paypal or anything. He didn’t search for music that was less than 5 cents – he searched and acquired music that was FREE.
    Sorry for the rant, but this model is dubious b/c it rests on a premise that I do not believe is true ->
    People will spend time shopping around to find the best deal on a song, pinching pennies here and there. They will NOT. But they will shop around to find music that is FREE, b/c presumably there will be lots of free music in one place. $0.05 is still miles away from the convenience of free.

  4. great point linda. this is one of the main reasons why newspapers ultimately ditched the idea of charging per-article… and why micro-payments in general never caught on.
    btw, i just grabbed another batch of music… over a gig this time… all great, well-known, catalog releases. the “download all” link comes in *really* handy.

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