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Amazon buys music download site Amie Street

Giant online retailer to incorporate the indie-music site into its new social-radio service Songza, which lets users create radio stations with a selection of songs and artists.

Three years after launching the first DRM-free music download store, is once again stepping up its music game.

Indie-music download site acquired by Amazon. Amie Street

On Wednesday morning, subscribers to the indie-music download service Amie Street received an e-mail announcing that the company had been bought by Amazon. Existing customers get a $5 gift certificate to Amazon's MP3 store and must download all the music they've paid for by September 22.

Amie Street started by offering music from independent labels and digital distributors like The Orchard, and it was a pioneer of demand-based pricing--all downloads on the site started off being available for free, then went up in price, as more people downloaded them. But the company had to compromise on this model in order to get music from major labels such as Sony, and I haven't heard much buzz about the company in the last year.

Amazon is apparently going to use Amie Street to bolster the content available for Songza, which could be described as a shared-radio service. Songza lets you create your own radio station with a selection of both specific songs and artists, then lets you share that radio station publicly. Listeners can't control the order of the songs played, but they can request songs on other stations. It's a fun way to share music and share your unique tastes with the world--check out my greatest-hits compilation for a weird mix of classic rock, forgotten metal, and "college radio" bands from the '80s and early '90s.