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Amie Street

Amie Street
Amie Street logo
"music lives here"
Amie Street homepage
Opened  United States: July 4, 2006 (2006-07-04)
 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

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.[9] The site was notable for its demand-based pricing. The company was later moved to Long Island City in Queens, New York.[10] In late 2010, the site was sold to Amazon who redirected customers to their own website.[11]


  • History 1
  • Investors 2
  • Website features 3
    • RECs 3.1
    • Social networking 3.2
      • Third party integration 3.2.1
    • Benefit media: Download To Make A Difference campaign 3.3
    • lonelygirl15 partnership 3.4
    • Takeover by Amazon 3.5
  • Press 4
    • Ashley Alexandra Dupré 4.1
  • See also 5
  • Further reading 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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 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.[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 spread: 45¢ =(\tfrac{95-5}{2}), 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 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]

Takeover by Amazon

In an email to Amie Street members on September 8, 2010, the website announced it would be redirecting all customers to starting on September 22, 2010 and ceasing to operate as While the digital, downloadable files from Amie Street will all be available on Amazon, demand-based pricing will cease and buyers will have to pay typical prices for their digital music, which in most cases is higher (sometimes significantly so) than the prices for the same music on Amie Street currently. Amie Street members have 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 as appreciation for their support of Amie Street over the years. Amazon reportedly shut down Amie Street on the morning of September 9, 2010,[46] but as of the afternoon of September 9 the website was still active, just with an "important Message From Amie Street" informing users that the website would be redirected to Amazon on September 22, 2010 and to make sure all purchases were downloaded by that time and to use up all credits (which would not be transferable to Amazon).[47]


Amie Street has been mentioned in several notable media organizations.[48][49] These include Rolling Stone,[50] The Wall Street Journal,[51] BusinessWeek,[9] NPR,[52] The Washington Post,[53] Los Angeles Times,[54] Entertainment Weekly,[55] TechCrunch,[56] Boing Boing,[57] Ars Technica,[8] and Wired.[58]

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[59] 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.[60] 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,[61] others estimated her earnings to be as low as US$13,720.[62] Official sales numbers have not been released.

See also

Further reading

  • 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


  1. ^ Amie Street - Help » FAQ
  2. ^ a b Amie Street - Help » FAQ
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  18. ^ Amie Street - Help » FAQ
  19. ^ More Amie Street News | Listening Post from
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  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
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  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 |
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  48. ^ Amie Street Press
  49. ^ Amie Street Buzz
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External links

  • Amie Street
    • Newsletter
    • Music Blog
    • Development Blog
  • Amie Street Japan
  • Amie Street on Twitter, Amie Street on Twitter
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