Amie St is a very interesting business idea with a good execution. They are music discovery and store with a twist - songs start free and the price goes up based on how popular they get. To encourage ratings and downloads, they even pay to the users who discovered good songs early and recommended them to others. And the songs never get as expensive as iTunes.
I like free music. I have enough music in the personal collection not to buy new tracks for a while (especially not from RIAA members), but I will listen to free songs to see if something really special will catch my attention.
I have tried Pandora and liked it, but obviously those songs are not for download and cannot be repeated easily (if one cares to stay legal anyway). I have tried iTunes’ free single of the week and was very disappointed.
Amie St makes it easy to discover good songs in the genres I like and will certainly keep me coming back for more.
One feature I wish they had is an ability to subscribe to a channel (artist, genre, price-range) and have it downloadable as a podcast of samples. Price range as a parameter might be useful for somebody ready to buy good songs, so they could mark them at 50-60 cents range and get a good deal, yet filtered by crowd’s rating. The delivery could be either individual 30⁄45 seconds files or one big file with chapter marks to skip easily and with embeded info/album art. That way I could listen to the songs on the move and buy/download them later. This obviously also increases user’s stickiness to the site, as the user interacts with the site even when not on the computer.
Or maybe they just need to open an API and somebody else will do that for them.
(Update: Another good review of the service is at: CoolBusinessIdeas.com)