Via Boing Boing and Joi Ito, the free music download directory at Amazon. Don’t get too excited, though: except for a handful of exclusives (such as a soporific b-side from Moby’s latest album), many of the interesting tracks on the Amazon site are widely available elsewhere, including the artists’s own sites and Salon’s Daily Download (registration or daily pass required).
The interesting bit about Amazon’s service is that it links to everyone’s downloads, not just the interesting ones. So if you were looking for a jazz cover of “California Here I Come,” Amazon is the place. But don’t expect to find buzzworthy singles without a lot of searching. That, after all, is what MP3 blogs are for.
What is more interesting to me is the fact that so many sites like this exist to point people to what is essentially advertising. There is a real ecosystem around free MP3s, and you can see how they can build real buzz around an artist. Look at Bloc Party, for instance; pretty well unknown stateside prior to last fall, but with the help of a free MP3 for their Cure-meets-Thin-Lizzy “Banquet” they were a big favorite going into SXSW. Not surprising that savvy labels like Sub Pop are using free downloads intelligently and programmatically (check the Downloads RSS Feed) to build buzz.