Amazon throws cash at variable price music

AmieStreet charges depend upon popularity

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Have you heard of AmieStreet ? Neither had we, but it seems etailer Amazon has. The net giant has invested heavily in the online startup which sells music. But, unlike Amazon and those iTunes people, AmieStreet has a variable pricing methodology which means that the more popular a song is, the more expensive it is.

That doesn't mean the site will charge you £5 for a song though, as the price is capped at 98 cents - yet starts at nothing. Amazon has obviously decided the idea is worth looking into and has become one of its so-called 'Series A' investors. Although we don't know how much it has invested, the move is certain to have pricked the ear of Steve Jobs.

"The idea of having customers directly influence the price of songs is an interesting and novel approach to selling digital music," said Jeff Blackburn, chief of Business Development at Amazon.

As a site, AmieStreet is riding the wave of social networking, with people discovering and promoting acts. Referrers are rewarded with credit to buy songs - the amount is decided by the popularity of a song after a member has recommended it.

"AmieStreet grew from the idea that we needed to make buying music social and fun," said the site's co-founder Elliott Breece. "The Amie Street community took over from there, driving a shift toward a music marketplace where consumers decide what is popular and what music is worth."

All songs downloaded from the site are available as DRM-free MP3s.

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