I was so impressed by Jamendo, a free music site, that I meant to write a summary, but here I am a year later finally getting around to it. I was researching “Creative Commons” licenses. I found that a number of sites where musicians make their music available in a way that allows free copying and sharing.
It is well worth a visit. Is it the best music in the world? Maybe, maybe not, that depends upon your own personal tastes. I have found a lot of pieces that are not as polished and packaged as you might find in commercial music. Yet, commercial music is not without its duds. Still, there is talent. They claim:
- 17035 published albums, this week 558 new ones
- 103425 album reviews
- 517017 active members, this week 8524 new members
- this week 188 new artists joined the community
It is clear that the musicians on Jamendo play because they honestly believe in their music. Many of them record at home. Some of them sell music through traditional channels, but Jamendo gives them a worldwide presence with no effort.
The site has the standard social features: forums, reviews, favorites, groups, and social filtering. They have radio channels for discovering music – similar I guess to Pandora except if you like a song you are free to download and share it. The music is free, but if you really like it, it is easy to make donations of any amount, and virtually all the donation goes to the artist. You can think of it as “try before you buy”. Tracking the donations is one way to find better music.
Jamendo Pro is really interesting; it provides licensed music for background use at half the commercial rate, and the musician still makes 50% of what is collected. This is sounding like the business model that could change an industry.
I can’t convince my teenage daughters to trade this for the latest popular smash hits, but for me I have found some new artists that I really enjoy listening to, and I like the feeling that I freely share this with friends. There is something about Jamendo that feels right.