I first heard about Jamendo around three years ago. An indie streaming and download service based in Europe, Jamendo is free to both listeners and artists. Although Jamendo neither charges nor pays for streams or downloads, Jamendo offers licensing and YouTube monetization programs which can become a source of revenue for artists.
While it’s nice to earn some dough on original content, I’ve always been more interested in having my music heard than sold, and at this point in my career, I’m less interested in turning a profit than ever. Not because I couldn’t use the money (I mean, who can’t, right?). I’ve simply embraced an “art for art’s sake” attitude…with the caveat that I will not necessarily turn down any financial compensation for my art. Let’s call this philosophy “ars gratias artis and the money too.” (I call dibs on that for an album title! Dibs will hold up in a court of law, right?)
Anyway, I said all that to say I decided I’d try Jamendo for the Southern Gentry Music Review (yes, not “Revue”) version of “Christmas Alone” late last year. I had nothing to lose and possibly something to gain. Well, after 7 months, I’m happy to announce that “Christmas Alone” has passed 10,000 plays on the service.
“10,000? That’s it?” Okay, okay. Yeah, that’s not a lot by many standards. But for someone whose following is concentrated in Southwest Mississippi, and who retired from performing live 5 years ago due to health issues, and who has been at home educating and caring for a couple of monst–er, uh, “children” and doing little to promote his music since, this is truly a spectacular statistic and stands as a testament to not only the music itself, but also to Jamendo’s platform and the international indie fan community at large.
In addition, I also released the single version of “Not the One to Say (I Told You So)” to the service earlier this year. There was a copyright kerfuffle when I originally uploaded (their system thought I was plagiarizing myself; Fantasy v. Fogerty, anyone?), so there was a significant delay in the availability of the track after the official release date which seemed to greatly impact the track’s discoverability. In other words, the track didn’t perform near as well as “Christmas Alone.”
Jamendo, however, emailed to let me know their team really dug the track and would be including it on an upcoming playlist. Now, if I had a dollar for every time an entity (individual or business) said they would soon be doing something great for free that might give me a career boost, but then didn’t, I’d be typing this post from my private island in the Caribbean. Actually, no, I wouldn’t be typing this post at all. Regardless, my thought was, “Well, that’s a nice email, but…yeah, probably won’t happen.”
After several months passed and no playlist placement materialized, I felt my reaction had been validated. Well, a few days ago, I logged onto to my Jamendo account to see that my play count on NTOTSITYS had increased by over a thousand plays since I took a good look at it a week or so earlier. True to their word, Jamendo had indeed added the track to their Singer/Songwriter playlist featured on their homepage, and the track has now gained over two thousand plays since.
Now, as a bit of a skeptic, I’ve been waiting to uncover some kind of angle which would make things less rosy than they appear (e.g. Are these bot plays?) But I can’t find any reason or evidence that things aren’t exactly as they seem, so at this time, I can do nothing but thank Jamendo for providing a service which allows me to freely and easily distribute my music to an international audience of eager listeners and for also adding one of my songs to an official playlist.
If you’re an independent artist less interested in making money from your original content and more interested in sharing your music with the world, I recommend giving Jamendo a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. (But if you do, I call dibs on not being held legally liable for your remorse.)
*Note: Unfortunately, Disqus comments have stopped loading on new blog posts, and I have yet to resolve the issue. If you’d like to reach out for any reason, please feel free to drop me a note via the Contact Form! – Cole