Amie Street is One Way to Amazon

Amie Street is a music download site with a business model I thought was brilliant, and Michael Arrington still describes as “awesome.”

Artists upload songs and those songs are free to download to start. As more downloads occur the price goes up. A cent, fifty cents, etc., up to $1… Over time a lot of artists tried out the service, songs were downloaded over 10 million times, and the company raised venture capital from Amazon and others.

As time went on, I developed qualms about the service. If tracks are $1, Amie Street is like lots of other ways to get music. What does it mean if a track is less than $1? That it’s not very good? That I can pay less for it, even though the artist probably needs the money more than those who command the full $1?

Anyway, the Amie Street service is closing down. So what happens to my account? I can’t tell from the site itself, which is currently offline for maintenance. Mashable Stan posts that I have until September 22 to spend my balanced (~$3?). It won’t be transferred to Amazon, which acquired Amie Street. But I will get $5 to spend there.

The Amie Streeters will now focus on the web radio platform Songza. So I don’t see this as a sad story, just as the end of a chapter in the big and growing book about music on the web.