Amoeba Music recently relaunched their online presence, but with a much more effective spin. Beyond the traditional online sales and music downloads, they’ve begun to focus on curated “musical rarities”.
…possibly the most intriguing element of that site, and a direct reflection of Amoeba’s dig-deeper philosophy, is the so-called Vinyl Vaults section — thousands of rare and out-of-print LPs, 78s and 45s that flow through the company’s three outlets in any given week — now available for sale via download.
It’s a solid business plan because it brings great access to hard to find music. It’s also fraught with some risk. In certain cases, they do not have a deal with the artist to sell their music. When they haven’t been able to get in touch with the artist, Amoeba says they are putting proceeds from the sale into an escrow account. Essentially, they are putting the money aside to pay royalties to the artist (or copyright holder) whenever they find them.
Hopefully this pays off for them and inspires other stores to do the same (and hopefully they don’t get immediately sued by some disgruntled artist.)