First impressions of Amie Street

I just created an account on Amie Street after a recommendation from Robyn. The concept seems pretty cool. Artists upload their music, and users can recommend, discover and download it. The price of each song starts at $0, but as they become more popular it rises to a maximum of 98 cents. Artists receive 70% of the profits, after they cover an initial $5 setup fee.

My first impression in trying to set up my artist account… why do we need albums?

I’m all in favour of the concept of an album. I don’t think it is dying or dead. Albums like Lateralus or Whatever and Ever Amen or Hopes and Fears are solid collections. There is a power in a good collection of songs; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But there is also power in individual songs. Why do all my songs need to be released as part of an album? That’s a pretense in a digital world. In the days of vinyls or casettes or CDs, it would only make sense to release a collection, but with online distribution, I often prefer to release tracks as I record them. I might choose to put them together on a disc one day, group them into a collection, but Amie Street forces me to associate tracks with albums.

That’s dumb.

Their reliance on albums is pretentious in the sense that’s its artificial, but their reliance on AJAX is pretentious in the sense of being obnoxious. The interface is proof that poor and excessive use of AJAX is to this decade what frames were to the 90s. Everything does not need to be javascript! And even if it is, it shouldn’t break if the user has javascript disabled.

The first stupid thing I noticed about the design was in the FAQs under the help page. I middle-clicked on one of the Top 5 Questions to open it in a new tab and nothing showed up, it’s just a stupid javascript pop-up. (Granted, upon closer inspection it seems that they’ve only made this mistake for the “Top 5 Questions”. The rest of the question links on the page are setup properly.)

That was just a little nuisance, but when their javascript-heavy uploader failed on me, it got really annoying. I tried uploading three songs, but it only got part way through the first. And Amie Street doesn’t let artists remove their own tracks. I had to message customer support in order to get the damn file replaced!

I look forward to using the service whenever customer support has enough time to do what I should be able to do myself. Amie Street seems like a cool idea, but they’re schooled in terms of flexibility and technical know-how by services like Last.fm. However, I shall withhold complete and authoritative judgment until I’m actually able to use the damn thing.

</rant>

Update: Customer service responded in 11 minutes! However, the uploader froze in the same place the second time I tried… I’ll post again when I’ve got it sorted out.

Update: Well, it took a few tries and a few different browsers, but finally the uploader didn’t completely crap out on me. There were still many duds that I had to ask to be removed, but my songs finally made it to my artist profile. Good news? Customer support is great. Bad news? Their AJAX uploader is a piece of trash.

Wings – version 0.2

Wings – version 0.2

I’ve recorded and uploaded a new song – Wings. [audio:http://audio.blaise.ca/songs/wings/wings-0.2.mp3|titles=Wings (0.2)] This is the first original tune I’ve recorded using Ardour in […]

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