myspace launched it’s online music service, myspace music last week. I’m a little torn about how I feel about the service and whether what they have to offer will lure me over. My initial take on it is that it’s a lot like a very popular service I have used for as long as I can remember, called imeem.

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myspace is a social network with a music streaming service in myspace Music. imeem’s approach is kind of the opposite – it is a music streaming service with a social networking overlay.

myspace has the clear advantage when it comes to number of users and the number of popular artists on the site. However, imeem is growing at a preposterously high rate:

  • In September 2007, TechCrunch had reported that imeem was the fastest growing social network in the US, up 1590% in monthly uniques.
  • According to Comscore, imeem had displaced Yahoo! Music as the top (US) music streaming site.
  • Back in August ‘08, the SF Chronicle reported that imeem was seeing 27 million uniques and about 65,000 new registrations each day.

The SF Chronicle article brings me to my next point – what I love about imeem is their involvement in the local music scene. They are small enough that they can get involved in music festivals and help promote local artists. Yet they are big enough with their reach that these artists want to get on imeem. Most recently, imeem sponsored the Treasure Island Music Festival and Outside lands, two very popular local festivals here in San Francisco. imeem definitely has a very viral angle to it and has the potential to lure local indie artists. I can see these artists getting lost in the fray in myspace Music. imeem also has a fairly comprehensive flavor of international music on their site - I’m only guessing this is something imeem tends to overlook for now, but this helps sustain imeem’s international visitor growth.

Both myspace and imeem have adopted OpenSocial. This was a decent move for myspace given that they had blocked sites like imeem from their site not too long ago, but I think it was also a safe move to appease the web 2.0 world, really. For one, I can’t think of one application from this list that is of any relevance to me. I wonder what the adoption of these applications on myspace has been. While imeem has also adopted OpenSocial, what’s more compelling is their Media Platform APIs that they launched in March this year. I can see a lot of potential for adopting imeem’s services through mobile devices or even desktop applications.

imeem also recently launched a site redesign, something that is welcome by most users. I remember having a discussion with my sister about a year and a half ago, and what had turned her off about imeem was that it looked cluttered and a lot like this site she used at the time called (surprise surprise) myspace.

It’ll be interesting to see how this battle plays out in the long run. Competition is undoubtedly a good thing - in fact I’d like to think that myspace Music may have had something to do with imeem’s site redesign. But I don’t think there should be any concern about myspace dislodging imeem’s existing user base and having them pack up and move over. They key to winning in this space will be about how easily users outside of myspace can discover new music.

ai