December 22, 2009
Imeem is now Myspace Music
MySpace has recently completed a deal to acquire music streaming service Imeem, and is in the first phase of integrating certain assets into its Myspace Music network. Although the sum of the deal remains undisclosed, sources report a total deal worth around $8m. (CNET shares, "The News Corp.-owned MySpace has agreed to pay $1 million in cash, but the total figure also includes money for accounts receivable and employee earn outs".) These figures fall wildly short of the $30m+ that had been invested in Imeem during it's 6 year development, and point towards, essentially, a fire sale.
Imeem is one of several sites that have recently gone bust or sold for next to nothing. Pressure from both major labels and large indies in the form of 'infringement payments' have helped smother another promising start-up, although the Imeem team had the relatively simple choice of selling up or packing up.
What Myspace will do to connect with Imeem's loyal following of 16 million users remains unclear. The Imeem blog says that 'visitors to imeem.com will be guided to MySpace Music to find and play the music they want'... the only problem being that Myspace Music is cluttered, saturated by the popular market and not particularly user friendly. Searching for and discovering new music is a challenge and the sudden change-over has Imeem users up in arms.
Imeem had to respond to try and calm worries about playlists being lost, but Myspace will have a lot of people to try and win over, and they can only do so by improving their functionality and moving the Imeem user accounts over as soon as possible. Even then, people don't like the Myspace brand. It served a function many years ago, but has fallen behind to Facebook and Twitter, not only in terms of regular traffic, but in the appeal to new web users. Buying up a rival music service and not maintaining it's quality will only breed further dislike.
One area that Myspace will certainly benefit is from the knowledge and experience of Imeem CEO Dalton Caldwell, CTO Bryan Berg, COO Ali Aydar and VP of Sales David Wade, who are all joining the Myspace team as consultants to help with the transition.
Here's to hoping that they will not only share some of the pitfalls to avoid, but aid with the smooth functionality that helped make Imeem so popular.
(Cross-posted at US Music Jobs, the premier online community for US music industry professionals and jobs in the music industry)
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