Jamendo is on first glance a free music website. And while that is certainly true, it is much more than that. Artists can not only use it to make their music available, they can also benefit from making it available there by reaching a larger audience or selling music to that audience (for instance in CD form which some users prefer).
You can listen to or download music for free on the site. Downloads are provided via BitTorrent or direct downloads. What I personally like about the site is that you can listen to any song in full before you download it or decide to support an artist. Jamendo offers several community features that make the site attractive as well, from rating and tagging songs to personal recommendations and listening to Internet radio non-stop.
Artists are paid using donations: if you like an album or song you are free to donate using PayPal. This is a great new concept and I would like to see statistics on how well artists are doing in comparison to other portals such as iTunes. Are artists paid more on average, are they paid less or is there no difference at all?
The main page lists popular songs and radio stations that you may want to tune in right away. It offers an interesting selection of some of the most popular songs that are available on Jamendo. You can alternatively click on the discover, search, radios or my music options on top to browse the site. This can be done while you are browsing the website as the music player attaches itself automatically to the bottom of the page.
All album pages list listen and download options right at the top. You can alternatively download or play individual songs. The page lists the license as well as related albums and user reviews on the very same page. Webmasters can embed albums on their website to spread news about it, and everyone else can use the sharing options to share it on social networking sites such as Facebook or Google Plus.
What else? Downloads are available in MP3 (~200 Kbps) and OGG format (~300 Kbps). Last but not least you find recommendations that sound similar to the album you are currently viewing / listening to.
My suggestion? Support them, it's a great concept and finally a portal that uses a different approach to music distribution.
Update: Jamendo as of May 2013 makes available more than 370,000 songs on their website that you can in theory play or download all.
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