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New Music Download Model: 98 Cents, obo

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You have to like a business model that is pure supply and demand.

AmieStreet.com’s entry into the music download business, if early success is any indication, puts buying power in the hands of music lovers, while promising a disruptive presence in the industry.

We’ve all tipped our hats to Apple’s Steve Jobs in the past for his hard line stance against record companies pushing for higher prices per song on iTunes. Jobs persisted that $3 and $4 per song was exorbitant, capping prices at 99 cents.

As the most adamant and self-entitled pirates have noted via their networks, even that is too much, especially with DRM protections denying full control of a purchased song. AmieStreet may have struck a balance, even if they hadn’t purchased enough bandwidth to handle the TechCrunch-driven deluge.

Signing up a popular (even if a little dated) band Barenaked Ladies only helps raise the site’s profile.

Until Michael Arrington blew the whistle, fans could have downloaded the band’s entire new album for free, without DRM limitations.

If you want the new collection now, it’ll cost around 10 bucks.

That’s because songs only start out as free.

The more people that download a song, the higher the price goes, topping out at 98 cents.

You can judge the popularity of the song by its price, as demand pushes it upward (though, somewhere here, it seems ripe for some type of abuse, as the more unscrupulous invest a little push-up money).

The Barenaked Ladies song "Something You’ll Never Find," for example, is currently selling for 95 cents.

Track 16 of the album, "Why Say Anything Nice," is less in demand, carrying a price of just 51 cents.

AmieStreet and the band are on a 70/30 profit split, with the band getting the larger end of that.

"Higher priced songs are by definition more popular," writes Arrington, "and I’ve found that anything over $.50 or so is pretty good music."

Adding more of boost, AmieStreet just signed up Nettwerk Music, a label handling mellifluous likes of Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, and Avril Lavigne.

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