Imeem Launches Ad-Supported Streaming Music Service

Jun 25, 2007 (01:06 PM EDT)

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A company that Hitwise ranks as one of the fastest-growing social media networks has launched a music service that pulls in advertising revenue to compensate artists for streaming music.

Imeem announced the service last week, saying it offers 3 million tracks, including some from artists that include Jimi Hendrix, Barenaked Ladies, Public Enemy, and Sarah McLachlan. The service allows artists to distribute music directly to fans and promises to provide ad revenue.

The service is free for fans, who can use the site to share their music with friends. It is open to all artists. Imeem uses a digital registry and content identification platform from Snocap to give artists and labels information about uploaded content. It determines if the content owner has permitted streaming on the Imeem service, and then distributes a pro-rata share of the advertising revenue.

Dalton Caldwell, founder and CEO of Imeem, said during an interview Monday that artists can participate and are free to distribute their material any way they choose. In other words, they're not restricted by exclusive deals. Rights holders must register their work with Snocap by creating an account and uploading their tracks.

Snocap's registry provides real-time management of online licensing, rights, and distribution. Snocap's MyStores allow independent artists to sell their music on any Web site, while maintaining control of licensing and rights. It doesn't provide personally identifiable information, Caldwell said.

"Imeem is creating a fair and sustainable approach to music online for both content owners and music fans," he said. "Snocap's technology, including its digital registry, has been a valuable resource to help power the next phase of our social media network. We'll continue to work closely with major and independent labels to promote and connect artists with our rapidly growing user community while helping the artists to get paid."

Caldwell said that the San Francisco-based site draws 16 million unique visitors a month and has attracted about 5,000 independent music labels. Hundreds of film companies and digital media distributors have also opted in, he said.

"A lot of people have been trying to figure out how music makes sense in the Internet world," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get to be part of that conversation."

Caldwell said that the site lists terms of use but doesn't "actively police for hate speech and violence." Instead, site operators accept complaints and determine if they violate Imeem's terms of use.

Hitwise ranks Imeem the fourth-largest social networking site in the United States, the second-fastest growing social networking site, and the fourth-largest media and entertainment site -- behind YouTube, MySpace Video, and Google Video.