Myspace Buys IMEEM-What now?

The digital music streaming and networking world continues to shrink

By Katie Hasty via

While the deal has been in the works for a while, MySpace Music has finally announced it has completed its buyout of digital music and social media site imeem.

The imeem site has been effectively shut down, and now redirects its users to MySpace Music, with users’ profiles intact.

Despite having raised millions upon millions of dollars to launch the site and to acquire licenses to stream songs from top-name artists, the site was sold for less than $1 million, according to Forbes. By the time it was shuttered, imeem had 16 million users; it was considered a competitor of MySpace Music.

imeem suffered from many of the similar problems that MySpace Music has endured: as previously reported, paying labels for permssion to stream songs threatens to sink even the latter. Ad dollars haven’t been pouring in enough to pay for those licenses.

On top of that, imeem was hit with a lawsuit this year from independent digital music company The Orchard, over some songs from now-defunct TVT Records.

Why should anybody care if an unsuccessful business like imeem goes out in a blaze of fire-sale glory?

For those who used the service, it was an unclunky way of acquiring “favorites” — favorite songs and artists — into playlists, plus a streamlined way to embed those songs and streams into “third party” sites like blogs, other social networks and homepages.

Additionally, it was yet another site that the still-new Google Music search engine drew from, to make finding song streams easy. Other sites from that well include iLike (owned by MySpace Inc., not MySpace Music), Lala (owned by Apple), Rhapsody and Pandora.

It had mobile technologies that make it compatible with products like the iPhone, which MySpace Music will undoubtedly adopt since they don’t have their own, plus a slew of artists registered using the SNOCAP music store.

This way, MySpace Music has one less competitor in the field of streaming major label music. A less competitive market may determine how MySpace Music behaves next year as it stares down money troubles of its own, particularly if they’re juggling a pay model instead of free.

For music listeners, it’s one less way that you can hear new music and communicate with other listeners, which to some is no big deal. I’m a girl, myself, but it’s the internet: it’s anybody’s preference.

For artists, it may mean it’s one less place to earn royalities from. For labels, they may pay their artists less if there are fewer competing companies to go through. While imeem was partly owned by major labels, Wired contemplates, there’s serious doubt that artists will get anything from its sale unless it’s stipulated by their contracts.

As MySpace Music gets bigger, it will be more difficult for smaller companies, like the aforementioned (and totally excellent) Pandora to compete. They may be snapped up by bigger companies and rebranded in their image.

MySpace on the whole has been battling Facebook as a social network, as more people have flocked to the latter for online interactions; MySpace has been trying to align and re-align itself as a network based on entertainment and arts. If there are any diehard imeem users left, time will soon tell if this move makes MySpace Music a better space.

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