Mile High Makeout: Guns and Butter

I received an email a couple weeks ago from the 1090 Club, the delightfully unique indie rock outfit from Billings, Montana. The band was offering its new album,

Natural Selection

, for digital download for free through


. I had never heard of the website, but, after having gone all gooey over the group's previous release,

Shipwrecked on Shores

 (which, as of today, is available for

$2.98 from SideCho Records


$1.93 from Amie Street



I knew I'd get more than my zero dollars' worth for the new record.

Amie Street is a pretty fascinating digital distribution company. Founded two and a half years ago by three Brown University students, the web-based business aims to promote new music by using a kind of social networking logic and a very literal application of basic economic principles. 

The site's demand-based pricing means that every song it offers starts out costing absolutely nothing. As more folks download the track, however, the price rises gradually to its cap of 98 cents. So if you want to check out something that no one else is listening to, it's likely to cost you nothing. On the flip side, if you see a track that costs 98 cents, you know that a lot of other cool people using the site thought it was worth downloading. On the artists' side, the site pays out 70% of the take after only five bucks in cumulative sales, which is one of the best deals going.

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By the time I got to the website to download Natural Selection, the price of its tracks had gone from $0.00 to $0.09, and today that price has gone up to $0.34, which means that the band is making $2.38 for every album they sell through the site - far better than they would
ever do through physical CD sales through, for example, a major label.

It certainly isn't my place to endorse Amie Street or any other business, but seeing what 1090 Club has accomplished through this particular channel made me think of all of Denver's beloved and struggling musicians, especially those who are waiting for a benefactor in the form of a record label to help them distribute and make a little beer money from their recordings. Wait no longer, my friends! Whether it's Amie Street or someone completely different, there are OPTIONS to get your music heard! This is good for musicians, good for music fans, and good for music.

-- Eryc Eyl

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