Jamendo is one of the most interesting music sites on the net (in terms business, community, and technology — there’s no competition yet for the vastness and bizarreness to be found on archive.org, yet). They’re trying every Web 2.0 trick and have somehow managed to avoid becoming overwhelmed with crap. I’ve listened to dozens of the 2,100 albums on Jamendo. While only a small fraction of these have strongly agreed with my taste, just about everything (weighted toward electronica and French rock) sounds professional.
Now Jamendo has introduced an advertising revenue sharing program with participating artists.
Several video sites are attempting variations on this theme (among them Revver, Lulu.tv, and Metacafe), but as far as I know Jamendo’s is the first attempt in the audio space. One might think an audio site would have a harder time making web advertising work than a video site (videos are usually watched within a web page and can have clickable ad areas or bumpers even if not), but I gather that listening via (usually Flash-based) audio players embedded in web pages is increasingly common (and Jamendo upgraded theirs recently), as will be media players that “play” a web page in a browser interface.
One data point: although Jamendo heavily promotes download of high quality copies, primarily via BitTorrent, their statistics indicate that low quality http “streaming” has accounted for more bandwidth. There are many obvious caveats here, but I think all points above indicate that advertising-supported web audio should not be ruled out, even if it is granted that web video has more potential.