Another Crazy Music Model

eListeningPost is a new music service that allows artists to distribute their songs via a link on a website or by email. The file can be listened to up to five times on any one computer – meaning it can be forwarded to others and they can listen to it five times, too. There are no restrictions on the number of times a file can be forwarded, and if someone likes the song, they can purchase it.

Artists have the option of selling DRM’d or clean MP3 versions of the song, and they keep 94% of the proceeds. The artist can also choose to include advertising with the emailed version of a song, and keeps a portion of revenue from that advertising. eListeningPost makes money by charging artists a signup fee of $45, plus $9 per month. Other than clean MP3s, none of these files will work on an iPod.

The company has signed a deal with EMI Records to test the service and is reportedly in talks with other labels.

We’re tracking a number of new music distribution models (a couple are listed in the last paragraph here), but our favorite continues to be Amie St., which we first profiled in July. Amie St., which has no DRM on music, starts off by distributing new songs for free. As songs become more popular, the price rises, until very popular songs hit $0.99. It’s a great way of building buzz for new bands, and consumers demand music without DRM.

Great artists will find a way to make money – via small download fees, live performances, merchandise, etc. But the age of DRM is coming to an end. Startups that embrace the DRM world are going to have a very hard time finding success.