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    Tuesday
    Sep162008

    Free Kids Music. For A Limited Time.

    If you spend a lot of time listening to and reviewing music as I do, parts of your living space can quickly get overrun with disks. Now, I've long believed that kids music will be one of the last holdouts against the unstoppable tide of digital music transmission, if only because giving your 3-year-old or the parents-to-be an access code or iTunes gift certificate for a great new CD just seems, well, weird.

    But I also understand that as a generation of folks who've always bypassed the physical medium of music consumption enter parenthood, I'm gonna become the exception, not the rule. Of course, getting people to pay for that music is the tough part. There are lots of places where you can download music legally, but I've recently started exploring one site that's got a decent selection of kids music that -- for the moment, anyway -- you can get for free or nearly free.

    Amie Street combines the catchphrases "social networking" and "digital music" into a store where members determine the price of music (from primarily independent artists). Most albums and tracks are introduced to the store at a $0 price. As more members buy the digital albums, the price rises to a maximum of 98 cents per track (or roughly $10 for an album). Members who buy albums get the opportunity to recommend tracks off those albums (see, for example, mine), and as the price of those tracks increase, members get additional credit to the their account. (And Amazon is an investor, so clearly somebody thinks it might just succeed.)

    So, anyway, I probably lost you at "free or nearly free," so after the jump I'll mention the artists currently available on the site, plus an easy way to pick up a little credit to get you started. Trust me, if you're a longtime reader, you'll find a lot of familiar names on the list...
    I should mention that Josephine Cameron was the artist who gave me the heads up about the site, and sure enough, her albums are all available there, and for prices above the "FREE" they were when first introduced.

    There are some bigger names there -- Barenaked Ladies, Kimya Dawson -- but unsurprisingly, their albums have quickly reached the $10-ish maximum.

    But there are other kids music artists who've been mentioned here whose prices are a lot cheaper -- at least for the moment. Artists include: The Sippy Cups, the Harmonica Pocket, Egg, David Tobocman, Ginger Hendrix, Adam and the Couch Potatoes, Charity and the JAMband, Elizabeth Street, Twink, the Harley String Band, and Rockosaurus Rex. (And, just now, The Jimmies. And also Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell. And now the Hipwaders. And I forgot to mention the For the Kids Three soundtrack.)

    And if you don't like that list, there are others such as Brian Biehle, Jeff Jones and the Earthones, the Conductors, Ashley Gramins, and plenty more. All of whom are just waiting for you to download their album cheaply so that the next person downloads a little less cheaply.

    Finally, I don't know if this coupon (fixed!) still works, but it's worth a shot -- it'll give you $5 credit to start.

    So there you go. I don't mean to sound like a shill, even though this probably does a little bit. And if you're an artist, I'm sure there are lots of other artists who'd love to know if you're happy with the site...

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