With more than 300,000 tracks and 50,000 albums published since its inception, the music publishing website Jamendo holds one the greatest libraries of free music online. A great success story that is in part powered by BitTorrent. From the start the site embraced P2P downloads to save resources and because artists and fans appreciated it.
When we first discovered Jamendo more than 5 years ago the site was hosting 500 albums, mostly from French artists.
Fast forward to today and Jamendo features work from 38,000 artists from all around the world, who together have published 315,000 tracks across 50,000 albums spanning a wide range of genres. Impressive statistics that easily beat some established record labels.
Jamendo is also one of the early advocates of using BitTorrent to share free music. According to Jamendo’s co-founder Pierre Gérard, one of the main reasons to support P2P technology was because the artists thought that it was a good platform to promote their work.
“We were one of the first platforms to provide legal music torrents because the artists on Jamendo wanted to use the P2P networks to share their music and have it discovered. At the beginning it was also a very good solution, very reliable and economical,” Pierre Gérard told TorrentFreak
Even today where bandwidth is relatively cheap Jamendo continues to support BitTorrent downloads, in both OGG and MP3 format for most artists. However, the seeding is no longer taken care of by Jamando, but by artists and fans.
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Initiatives like Jamendo offer some much-needed counterbalance to critics who say that there’s virtually no ‘legal’ content on BitTorrent. Jamendo’s artists happily publish their work on all major BitTorrent sites and 315,000 tracks doesn’t appear to be an insignificant amount to us.
Jamendo doesn’t see itself as direct competition to the major record labels, but rather a proponent of a new music industry that empowers artists who share their music freely under a Creative Commons license.
“We are a new opportunity for a new generation of artists, we provide new tools and a new legal framework. Every day, new artists are joining Jamendo. We want to be part of a new organisation of the music distribution where the artists have the choice and can decide how they want to be diffused,” Pierre Gérard said.
Besides from offering a publishing platform, Jamendo also allows users to review albums and to donate directly to the artists if they like what they hear. For some of the popular artists this is a nice tip, but the real value of Jamendo comes from the exposure to thousands of potential fans.
“Jamendo is not American Idol, the promise is not to become a star with Jamendo, we prefer to have thousands of artists who can get new fans, share their music and sometimes make some money. The most popular artists on Jamendo have millions of listens, this is the best rewards they can get.”
Unlike many major labels, Jamendo puts the interests of the artists first, helping them to escape obscurity and be heard by a community of more than 1,000,000 avid music fans. So next time you hear the RIAA or IFPI complaining how BitTorrent ruins the lives of artists, remember that there are tens of thousands of musicians who disagree.