Legal music sharing

Jamendo is a music sharing site aimed at artists.

Jamendo, a Luxembourg-based music service that launched back in 2005, takes a different tack than most mainstream music sharing Web sites. Namely, the legality is not questionable because the service is positioned rather strictly as a tool for indie artists to make their songs readily available in the name of expanding exposure and attracting more listeners. It hosts music of varying licenses, and gives users and professionals a place to discover and download tracks either for free or by purchase.

Jamendo is great for indie stuff since you can stream tracks an unlimited number of times without being registered. It also lets you download entire albums for free: by early 2009, the site had close to 20,000 albums published to it, many of which hold a Creative Commons license that allows for no-cost downloads. And if you do decide you want to support a particular artist, you can donate an amount of your choosing. Of course, one obvious limitation is that you won't find any mainstream stuff, but that is only a downside for some.

Jamendo also offers an intriguing pro service for audio professionals. The service takes artist's songs and turns them into muzak streams and on-hold music. They also manage the licensing of tracks for commercial use by taking a chunk of the cost, then giving the rest to the music creators; basically, it functions like ASCAP. All in all, Jamendo provides a compelling service for independent musicians who want a simple way to get their content into the ears of potential fans, which therefor means more free music available (legally) for consumers. Sounds like a good deal to us.

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