Confirmed: MySpace Looking to Buy Imeem

Published on November 17, 2009
by Peter Kafka

victrolaGoing, going, gone: The last of the Web 2.0 music services are dwindling away. The latest is Imeem, which is in the process of being purchased by MySpace, I’ve confirmed.

Haven’t heard a price yet, but I wouldn’t expect much, given that this deal, like the iLike purchase MySpace made earlier this year, is an “acqhire”–News Corp.’s (NWS) social network/portal wants to buy Imeem for its “sales team, engineering, Snocap and other Imeem IP,” a person familiar with the transaction tells me.

The deal, which isn’t finalized, was first reported by TechCrunch.

Once it’s finished, it will conclude an up-and-down year for Imeem, in which the service pleaded with the major music labels, successfully, to change the terms of its music licensing deals, which were killing the streaming music site. But that wasn’t enough to prevent investor Warner Music Group (WMG) from writing off the money it had sunk in the service (though Warner later ended up increasing its stake in the service without actually writing another check).

Like other Web music services that sprang up in the past few years, Imeem wanted to provide users with free tunes, and pay the licensing fees by selling advertising against its user base. But the economics for that proposition appear unworkable: The labels, who are afraid that giving away music on the Web will kill any chance they have of selling the stuff, are reluctant to cut their fees substantially, and ad dollars for music sites have been relatively hard to come by.

That dynamic is still causing problems for MySpace’s own music service, one of the few remaining sites offering free streams. It will be interesting to see how that company is affected by “OneBox,” the new Google (GOOG) search feature which provides free streams for searchers, then directs them to MySpace and LaLa, one of the other surviving services.

Return to: Confirmed: MySpace Looking to Buy Imeem