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Universal Strikes Deal with iMeem

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The music industry has had a lot of shakeups recently, and here’s yet another. Social media community imeem has signed a licensing deal with Universal Music group, the largest music label in the music industry. Now you can listen to Universal’s streaming music and watch videos free.

Rather than make money on the music, they show ads and split ad revenues. This isn’t a new model, of course and I wonder what the artists make from it.

Universal is finding ways to get around Apple’s stronghold by not only working with imeem, but also with cell phone provider Nokia. There Comes With Music feature comes with a one-year, unlimited access music download service. Not only are the songs available on your cell phone but you can keep any music you downloaded after your subscription expires.

Why pay when you can get it free? TechCrunch says, if you include music from independent labels, imeem has 5 million songs. Compare that to iTunes’ 6 million. The site is said to have about 19 million users (make that one more – I just signed up). I noticed that imeem is integrated with Gmail, so you can download your contacts.

According to comscore, imeem.com was the fastest growing social media site from October 2006-2007 rising almost 1600%. Still it’s behind MySpace (which has limited content from Imeem from its site), or Facebook. Now that they’ve locked up the major record labels they should continue that trend.

In September imeem signed a deal with Sony/BMG music, then a month later EMI followed. Warner Music Group sued them earlier this year but in the end they signed on.
These are legal but if imeem catches illegal content on the site, they convert it to a 30 second sample (except the person who put the music on the site can listen to the entire song). They then direct you to affiliate links to purchase the track from Amazon.com or iTunes.

Need some new music on your playlist? Check out NPR’s music picks of the year. Or, if your Christmas music is getting stale, check out imeem’s playlists tagged Christmas.

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Universal Strikes Deal with iMeem
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