Dear Mr. & Ms. Google,
As an educator, I’ve been a devoted Google fan from the beginning, quickly abandoning Altavista when I found your sleek and thorough search engine. MapQuest was left in the dust when Google Maps came out. Despite being a Mac devotee, Picasa and Picasaweb are my preferred photo programs and Google Calendar is my primary calendar. I do appreciate the ability to link to colleagues’ calendars and documents as well as sharing mine. I and countless other educators sing your praises because you offer us valuable resources and information.
But that’s not why I’m writing. I have a favor to ask.
Please save Jamendo.
We educators love Google for so many reasons, but the primary ones are that you offer rich, value-laden, open-licensed resources for free, perfect for underfunded educators. One thing that is lacking from Google’s portfolio, though, is a free music service. Jamendo not only would fit the bill, but it’s ripe for picking.
Jamendo.com is both a community and a repository of free, Creative-Common’s licensed music. With more than 29,000 albums and nearly 700,000 members, I can attest that a quarter of the music on my iPod comes from Jamendo. Some of the albums are that good. More importantly, though, is the value Jamendo brings to education. Creative-Commons-licensed music fits perfectly in education and allows students and educators to integrate music in podcasts, multi-media presentations, and web sites outside the four walls. With educators striving to create authentic, project-based assignments that are published to a real audience, Jamendo provides a variety of music genres that then can be edited and mashed into student work.
But, Jamendo is in trouble. Their business model has not brought in the income they were expecting and we expect them to close within the next month. This would be most unfortunate for the open-source community and for education. I’m certain that with your expertise and creativity, Google could easily turn Jamendo into profit-making venture while retaining its open-source content. You could also treat Jamendo like Picasa and treat it as one more reason customers should come to Google for resources.
So, please, do me a favor and check them out. I hear you can buy them for a song.
Director, California Learning Resource Network