What The Hell Is Amie Street Music? And What Does Eliot Spitzer's Taste In High-End Hookers Have To Do With It?

03/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sometimes, it takes the fall of a powerful public figure to draw the public's attention to a great online music site. That is exactly what is happening this week with Amie Street Music. For those of you who only discovered it after New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned over having had sexual relations with a prostitute who also happened to be an aspiring singer with two dance tracks on Amie Street, a primer.

Amie Street is an extremely clever idea for monetizing music. Founded by some Brown University seniors a few years ago, it has since grown into the best way to discover great new music on the web. The site has become our favorite place to find new tracks, without guilt. On Amie Street, artists get fairly compensated, right away.

As you probably know by now, most music is available for free on any number of peer-to-peer services. If you want it, it's out there. This creates a new problem: how do you figure out what's good when you are looking for new music and you can listen to everything?

In most markets, price provides some indicator of quality. Of course, this is not a perfect indicator, but it helps. Without knowing anything about cars, we can infer that a Mercedes is of higher quality than a Hyundai based solely on price. In the traditional music market (and on iTunes) price has nothing to do with quality. All songs are the same price.

Amie Street improves the online music market by providing prices that convey information about quality. All songs - whether by a famous artist like the Barenaked Ladies or from an unknown artist like Ashley Alexander Dupré's start at $0.00. As more people listen to the track and recommend it to others, the higher the price climbs - to a maximum of 98 cents. Artists take 70% of the proceeds. Simple idea, no? So simple and clever that Amazon recently invested.

Elliot's Mayflower hook-up, Ashley Alexander Dupré, is discovering the power of the Amie Street model. This aspiring singer / call-girl uploaded her tracks to Amie Street on Nov. 8, 2007, and yesterday morning they were selling for about 7 cents. As her name got out people started discovering - and reviewing - her music on Amie Street. The price quickly climbed. Today, her tracks are selling at 98 cents. She's making real money, right away. You go girl.

So, to answer the question: what does a 4 diamond, $1,000 per hour call girl from the Emperors Club VIP and a 98 cent track on Amie Street have in common?

Simple: their price is a rough indicator of quality. Eliot Spitzer figured that out, and now the rest of you are discovering Amie Street because of it.